According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, since the 1970’s, doctors have noticed an increase in the number and severity of broken ankles. This is due in part to the Baby Boomer generation being active throughout every stage of their lives.
The ankle has two joints – one on top of the other – and three bones. A broken ankle can involve one or more of the bones, as well as injury to the surrounding connecting tissues or ligaments.
There are a wide variety of causes for broken ankles: most commonly a fall, an automobile accident, or sports-related trauma. A broken ankle can often be mistaken for a severe sprain, so any ankle injury needs to be examined immediately by a physician.
Symptoms of a broken ankle include:
- Immediate and severe pain.
- Inability to put any weight on the injured foot.
- Tenderness to the touch.
- Deformity, particularly if there is a dislocation or a fracture.
Treating a broken ankle, if the fracture is stable, generally involves a leg cast or brace. If the ligaments are also torn or if the fracture created a loose fragment of bone that could irritate the joint, surgery may be required to secure the bones in place to aid in proper healing.