Ankle Fracture – Conservative Management
Every time that we see an ankle fracture at Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle, we have to determine a few different things. There are a few different types of ankle fractures, but they tend to follow patterns based on the mechanism of injury. That is to say, when we see a patient’s x-rays, we tend to know how a patient fell to cause the injury but, more importantly, how to fix it.
Fortunately, many ankle fractures heal well without surgery. In fact, for most ankle fractures, the standard for many years was to avoid surgery altogether. Now, with better surgical techniques and hardware, most do undergo surgery, however, we still see many fractures that will heal on their own.
These fractures, which are usually at or below the level of the joint itself, heal with immobilization for 6-8 weeks. The first few weeks will be non-weight-bearing, after which we gradually transition a patient to a weight-bearing protocol. Pain management is essential during this time as broken bones do hurt. While narcotics do have a bad reputation, this is exactly what they are meant for: post-operative or post-traumatic acute pain. We will keep a patient on these pain-relieving medications only as long as necessary and never more than a week or two.
Once healed, we expect a fractured ankle to be just as good as normal, though this can take up to a few months after the injury. Ideally, after a year or two, we hope a patient forgets that the ankle was broken and, without surgery, there won’t even be scars to remind one of the injury!
Contact one of our offices, in Avon or Frisco if you or someone you know needs help with an Ankle Fracture.