Symptoms And Causes Of Ankle Fractures
Your ankle is a joint where the talus of the foot connects and moves with the tibia and fibula of the leg. Trauma here can result in the rupture of any or all of these bones, and there is usually significant pain immediately after the injury.
Ankle fractures almost always occur during a traumatic event to the body. Car accidents, falls, and sports injuries can all cause ankle fractures. Common signs of an ankle fracture include pain, swelling, bruising, and the inability to bear the weight of the injured ankle.
If you suspect that you have fractured your ankle, your first step should be to seek immediate medical attention. Failure to do so may result in severe loss of function.
Resisted Strengthening Plantar Flexion
Verywell / Ben Goldstein
Resisted ankle plantar flexion helps strengthen your calf muscles and Achilles tendon, the big tendon in the back of your ankle. It also uses a Theraband to provide resistance.
So I Got My Cast Off After My Ankle Fracture Now What
Getting your cast off can feel like the most glorious day ever. However, your calf and ankle may not be the prettiest sight, it may look extra skinny with dead skin. Even worse, your foot may be swollen and really STIFF. Dont fret, we are going to teach you how to get your ankle and foot moving again and use it as much as you can! In regards to your skin, take a well-earned bath/shower and use lotion to nourish the skin.
Swelling is inevitable. The ankle is a distal joint and is more prone to prolonged swelling. That is Ok! What is important is to combat that post-operative swelling with early mobility. The more that you are able to move the ankle once you are able after surgery, the more that you can promote overall circulation as well as blood flow back towards the heart. We discuss this below with a hallmark exercise of ankle pumps, preferably elevated.
You can also listen to our podcast with Taryn on living well with lymphedema, as she discusses everything about the lymphatic system, as well as how to maintain a healthy lymphatic system. This podcast is full of excellent information related to the lymph, as well as how swelling may occur, and what you can do to combat the negative effects of swelling!
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Questions For Your Pt
When its time for your first visit, its important to come prepared with questions to get the best understanding of what you will gain from your physical therapy appointments. Take these questions with you:
- What can I expect from my first visit? Will I be sore?
- How often should I see you?
- Can I call you if I have any questions about my home program or symptoms?
- What am I allowed to do?
- What activities should I avoid?
- What can I do at home for pain relief before, during, and after my PT sessions?
- When can I return to ___ activity?
How In Motion Oc Can Help With Recovery After An Ankle Fracture
The physical therapists at In Motion O.C. are no strangers to ankle rehabilitation.
Weve helped hundreds of patients regain their strength, flexibility, and balance. As Yelps #1 Physical Therapist in the entire country, we can help you too.
Well have you back on your feet in no time!
*This information about physical therapy for ankle fracture was reviewed by Dr Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to contact us here.
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The Best Exercises For Broken Ankles
If you have a fractured ankle, these exercises for a broken ankle are the perfect place to start . Chances are youve been resting in a walking boot or cast for up to 6 weeks and you will find your ankle feeling stiff, sore and weak. Knowing where to start and how to progress can help you get on track to recovery as soon as possible. Keep scrolling for the best exercises for a broken ankle.
Have You Broken Your Ankle
If youve recently broken your ankle and youre either sitting in a cast waiting for it to heal or had ankle surgery, we would love to help you. Your ankle will heal. Thats a given the human body is impressive.
Still, when left to its own devices without the support of a physical therapist, your body doesnt always get it right. Sometimes, it overcompensates with scar tissue which we can help you mobilize. Other complications, like a limp or joint stiffness, can affect your future mobility and impair your quality of life.
Without physical therapy, youre potentially leaving yourself wide open for chronic pain, future injuries, and more surgeries due to potential weakness around the ankle joint.
Please dont leave it to chance.
Physical therapy after an ankle fracture helps you restore the function of the joint to its pre-break state as quickly as possible. It prevents weakness from developing in or around the joint. In addition, it allows you to strengthen the surrounding muscles to prevent future injuries.
We also help you speed things along so that you can get back to work, sports, and your everyday life as quickly as possible.
Were an outpatient orthopedic and sports medicine clinic. So weve seen a lot of ankle injuries, so, whether youre an athlete who wants to get back on the field after a nasty tackle.
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How Can Physical Therapy Help
When dealing with an ankle fracture, physical therapy is paramount to recovery. An ankle fracture takes weeks to heal properly, and only if it is provided the proper process to do so. If your injury is left untreated to become more injured you might even be forced to partake in a surgical procedure to reposition your bone fragments back in place, which involves the high possibility of screws, metal plates, and rods placed into your ankle to assist in healing. It could take 4-8 weeks for the bones/ligaments to heal fully and several months following to regain full use of your ankle. Should you require surgery, that time period expands exponentially.
Block Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy will diagnose your injury by completing a thorough physical examination and work with you to build a treatment schedule that works best for your healing process. As with many bone or joint injuries, you will need to carefully build back up the strength of your injury site without further aggravation. Our physical therapy treatments will help to restore motor function and improve mobility. Additionally, physical therapy can reduce the amount of pain experienced during healing. In general, the goal of physical therapy is to prevent any physical limitations from remaining afterward, so you can get back on your feet with no complications.
Ankle Fracture Symptoms And Causes
Your ankle is a joint where the talus bone of the foot and the tibia and fibula of the leg connect and move. Trauma here can cause a break in any or all of these bones and significant pain usually results immediately after the injury.
Ankle fractures almost always occur during a traumatic event to the body. Automobile accidents, falls, and sports injuries can all lead to ankle fractures. Common signs of an ankle fracture include pain, swelling, bruising, and an inability to bear weight on the broken ankle.
If you suspect you have a broken bone in your ankle, your first step should be to seek medical attention immediately. Failure to do so may result in a significant loss of function.
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How Your Physical Therapist Can Help You Before The Surgical Procedure
If you consult with an experienced physical therapist following the injury and they suspect your ankle has broken, the expert will:
- Instruct you in acute injury care using the RICE formula
- Apply ice to reduce swelling and pain
- Immobilize the ankle by applying a stirrup brace to regulate swelling and restrict motion
- Require you to keep your involved ankle raised to regulate swelling
- Making recommendations for further care with an emergency department or orthopedic physician
- Require you to walk without placing any weight on your ankle using an assistive device such as a walker or crutches
If you have a broken fracture, your treatment depends on the number of the broken bones and whether it’s a complex, compound, or simple fracture. The initial treatment encompasses your physician realigning and stabilizing your bones. It is executed in a healthcare emergency room or with a surgical procedure.
Following Surgical Procedure
If a surgical procedure is needed, your broken ankle will be put in a fracture boot or cast to stabilize it after surgery. Your physical therapist can visit you in the hospital and assist you in getting out and up from your bed. They can also aid you in standing up and sitting on your bed.
You won’t be permitted to put weight on your ankle for approximately six to ten weeks. The PT will guide you on how to use assistive devices. On top of that, you will learn how to go down and up steps and curbs with the assistive device.
At Your Home
In the Clinic
Physical Therapy Guide To Ankle Fracture
An ankle fracture occurs when a bone on one or both sides of the ankle is partially or completely broken. Most ankle fractures result from falls, jumps, sports, exercise, or trauma. In males, most ankle fractures occur between the ages of 10 and 19. Females experience more ankle fractures overall in all other age groups. Fracture types may vary from simple to complex. They may involve one, two, or three fracture areas. It is essential to seek evaluation after an ankle injury to determine if you have a fracture. Physical therapists play an important role in helping people recover from ankle fractures. They can help you return to regular activities in the safest and fastest way possible.
Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
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What Should You Expect On Your First Visit
During your first visit, we will conduct a thorough examination and assessment to determine your starting point. Several MOTION therapists are specially trained in the McKenzie Method® of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy®, which is an internationally acclaimed system of assessment used worldwide to devise the best treatment strategy for musculoskeletal disorders in the spine and extremities.
Those results, combined with information your doctor has provided regarding weight-bearing precautions or other restrictions, will enable us to design a treatment plan that meets your individual needs.
During your visit, your therapist may ask you to move around in order to assess certain functions, so dress comfortably. Throughout this and every visit, we encourage you to ask questions and provide feedback.
The initial assessment measures some or all of the following aspects:
- Measurements of affected body parts
- Overall function and mobility
Our overall goal is to reduce pain and increase your endurance, range of motion, strength, flexibility, and gait. To improve walking and functional ability, we will focus on strengthening the ankles, hips, knees, and core muscles . We will also work with you to improve balance and body posture.
Receiving Safe Treatment With Physical Therapy
Having a guide for your ankle injury recovery can reduce stress and give you the confidence to get back to normal life as soon as possible. There are different stages of recovery that your PT can help with, depending on your comfort level and where you feel you need the most guidance. Call and talk to your physical therapy clinic or orthopaedic doctor if youre not sure when you should start therapy or if it is even for you. As always, if your symptoms get worse or dont improve with treatment, make sure to keep your physical therapist and doctor in the loop so they can make adjustments as needed.
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How Is An Ankle Fracture Diagnosed
When you consult a doctor when you have an ankle injury, they will want to know how you injured the ankle. First, theyll take your complete medical history.
They will then observe your walk . Next, they will examine the ankle for swelling, tenderness, and bruising and confirm if you can bear any weight on the ankle while walking or standing. If they suspect an ankle fracture at this point, they will request an X-ray for confirmation of their suspicions.
They may also recommend a consult with an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation if the break is severe. Sometimes, an ankle sprain can present with similar symptoms to an ankle fracture, so that you may have a sprain and not a break. But the X-ray will confirm whether any type of fracture is present.
The treatment for your ankle fracture depends on the number of broken bones and the kind of fracture. But, first, the bones are aligned in the correct position and stabilized by the physician in the ER.
Physiotherapy & Importance Of Prescribed Exercises
The physiotherapist may also work with a patient on gait training, weight and resistance exercises, stretching and flexibility, and so on. As mentioned, it is paramount that the injured party is committed to performing the assigned exercises on a regular basis at home and between appointments.
Physiotherapy is a vital step in regaining strength and mobility after a broken ankle or fracture. If youve undergone a trauma that has led to a break or fracture and are looking for a qualified, experienced physiotherapist in downtown Vancouver to ensure that you can return to your way of life, call us for an appointment today.
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Range Of Motion Exercises
Jeannot Olivet / Getty Images
Ankle range of motion exercises are one of the first things your PT will prescribe once you get out of your cast or brace after an ankle fracture. Your physical therapist may passively move your ankle joint through various motions, and he or she may have you actively move your ankle to improve the motion around the joint.
Some simple exercises to do to improve your ankle ROM may include moving your ankle by pointing your toes up and down as far as possible, and moving your foot in and out, motions called inversion and eversion. Hold each position for a few seconds, and perform 10 to 15 repetitions.
Another fun exercise to do to improve ankle ROM after a fracture is to do ankle alphabet. Simply pretend that your toes are a pencil, and draw letters with your foot by moving your ankle. Draw each letter slowly and deliberately in both upper and lower case. This can be performed several times per day.
Expect to feel a little pain, but stop the exercises if you feel any lasting, intense pain. If that happens, check in with your PT or healthcare provider.
Once you have perfected ROM exercises, it is time to start to improve ankle flexibility with the next exercise.
What Is An Ankle Fracture
Ankle fractures can develop through any sort of unnatural movement or incident involving the ankle. Most commonly, fractures are caused by rolling your ankle too far in either direction . When this occurs, the small-sized bones in your ankle may begin to break due to added stress. Ligaments can also be torn during the injury. This can be caused by landing poorly, missing a stair on a staircase, or simply stepping wrong while walking. In the summertime ankle fracture cases exist due to injuries sustained by outdoor sports or slipping on water at the pool, opposite to slipping on ice in the wintertime but with the same result.
Common symptoms of an ankle fracture include:
- Pain and tenderness at the source of the injury
- Difficulty in walking
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How Is It Diagnosed
Ankle fractures are diagnosed using an X-ray and a physical exam.
If you see a physical therapist first, they will perform a full evaluation. It will include questions about your medical history, how your injury occurred, and a physical exam. Your physical therapist will observe your ability to walk and bear weight on the injured ankle and examine the area for swelling, deformity, and tenderness. They also will assess your foot and lower leg to find out if other areas may be injured.
If an ankle fracture is suspected, your physical therapist will refer you for an X-ray. If the X-ray reveals a fracture, you will be referred to an orthopedic doctor, podiatrist, or the emergency room for further treatment. It is important to have an ankle injury assessed by your physical therapist or doctor soon after your injury to determine whether you have a severe ankle sprain or a broken bone.
If the bone pierces the skin, go immediately to a hospital emergency room.
How Can Physical Therapy Help After An Ankle Fracture
Fracturing your ankle does not mean you have to put your life on hold. It is an extremely common injury In the United States for all ages. Over the last few years though, there has been an increased boom in the number of ankle fracture cases, caused in part by a more active older generation. If you are concerned that you might have sustained an ankle fracture, or have any of the symptoms/pain of a possible injury, contact Block Sports Chiropractic and Physical Therapy at our Selden or Smithtown location to schedule an appointment.
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