John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Doctors usually place a splint on the injured ankle for a few days to 2
weeks until the swelling decreases around the joint. The type of fracture and
the stability of the fractured joint will determine the type of splint that will be used,
or whether surgery is needed.
If the ankle bones are not aligned properly, the doctor may realign them
before placing the splint.
If the bones cannot be realigned properly in the emergency department, the patient may require an operation.
Surgery may also be needed if any bone has broken through the skin. If the
bone breaks through the skin, the fracture is called a compound fracture.
This is more serious than a simple fracture.
Some minor ankle fractures do not require a splint or cast. In these cases
the fracture will be managed as an ankle sprain.
Because these fractures are very small, they heal well with this
With any injured ankle, however, patients should not bear weight until a
cast is placed or until the ankle joint is pain free; check with the orthopedist
about when weight bearing should be attempted.
After the swelling decreases and the patient is reexamined, an
orthopedic doctor or a primary care doctor may place a better-fitting cast on
the ankle. Depending on the type of fracture, the patient may be placed in a
walking cast, which can bear some weight, or the patient may need a
non-weight-bearing cast that will require the use of crutches to
assist with walking.
Depending on the degree of pain, the doctor may prescribe pain medication.
The patient should use the pain medication only as needed. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while using these
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