Many ankle fractures can heal just fine without surgery. The key is in the diagnosis, which, of course, is always left up to an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist. If he or she decides that surgery isn’t necessary, here’s what will happen:
The Ankle Will Be Placed in a Splint
The key to effective non-surgical treatment is immobilization. Because there’s always a great deal of swelling following an ankle fracture, a splint will be used to ensure the ankle isn’t constricted.
Illustration 1– A splint immobilizes the ankle while it’s still swollen
Once the swelling has gone down (usually after 1-2 weeks), the next treatment step occurs.
The Ankle Will Be Placed in a Hard Cast
A hard cast is the ultimate form of immobilization. Orthopedic practices have trained cast professionals that place the ankle in the proper anatomical position (to ensure healing occurs) before applying the cast.
Illustration 2– A cast immobilizes the ankle and allows it to heal
Usually, the patient will remain in a cast for 2-6 weeks depending on the severity and location of the fracture. Once x-rays show enough healing has occurred, the next step will be taken.
The Ankle Will Be Placed in a Walking Boot
A walking boot immobilizes the ankle while allowing the patient to bear partial weight.
Illustration 3– A walking boot is the last form of immobilization
After a period of 2-4 weeks, x-rays will be taken to ensure the fractured bone has fully healed. If everything checks out, the patient can resume normal day to day activities.
Contact an Orthopedic Specialist if You Have an Ankle Fracture
An orthopedic or sports medicine specialist is the best medical professional to contact if you’ve sustained an ankle fracture. Their knowledge and experience allow them to determine if surgical or non-surgical treatment will be needed. If non-surgical treatment is the choice, you’ll be in the great hands and can make a full recovery when you choose the right specialist.
At The Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine (OSM) Center we utilize the collective skills of our exceptional providers to deliver the most complete musculoskeletal care available. From your first appointment, you are cared for by a team specifically built based on the best treatment for your condition. If surgery is necessary, you will be paired with an OSM surgeon who has the expertise and experience in your specific condition. Our surgeons use the latest minimally invasive techniques where appropriate to ensure fast recovery. Contact us today to schedule a consult.