Ankle fractures are one of the most common fractures in the lower limb.

When you have an ankle fracture several things determine whether or not you need an operation:

Ankle Fractures

  • Amount of displacement of fracture
  • Which bones are fractured
  • Stability of the ankle
  • Damage to the syndesmosis ligaments between the tibia and fibula

In undisplaced, stable fractures non operative treatment is recommended.

In displaced or unstable fractures operative treatment is recommended in order to prevent long term problems in the ankle.

What is the surgical treatment?

Surgery for ankle fractures in most cases involves an arthroscopy to:

  • Assess the joint surface
  • Remove loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  • Assess the stability of the syndesmosis

Surgery of ankle fractures may include:

  • Plate fixation of the fibula
  • Screw fixation of the medial malleolus
  • Screw or Tightrope fixation of the syndesmosis

What does the rehabilitation involve?

Rehabilitation and recovery times can vary depending on fracture pattern.

  • 1 night in hospital
  • 2 weeks in a cast non weightbearing with elevation of the foot
  • 4 weeks in a CAM Boot
    • Weightbearing status during this period is dependent on your fracture
  • Physiotherapy to regain ankle motion, strength and balance from 2 weeks post operatively
  • By 3 months returning to recreational walking
  • Return to sport by 4-6 months
  • Swelling resolution by 6- 9 months

Ankle range of motion Info-sheet

How long will I be off work?

This is dependent upon your occupation

  • Seated job 2-3 weeks
  • Standing job 6-8 weeks
  • Heavy lifting job 10-12 weeks

When can I drive?

Manual car

  • No driving for 9 weeks

Automatic car

  • Left foot no driving for 2 weeks
  • Right foot no driving for 9 weeks

What are the risks of the procedure?

General risks of surgery:

  • Infection
  • Wound healing problems
  • Nerve injury and scar sensitivity
  • Blood clots to the leg
  • Anaesthetic problems

Specific risks for ankle fracture surgery:

  • Non healing of the fracture possibly requiring further surgery
  • Loss of fixation
  • Stiffness of the ankle due to scarring
  • Prominent metalware requiring removal
This information is an overview of the management of ankle fractures and is not all inclusive.

If you have any questions please contact Mr Curry’s rooms on (03) 99286560