Ankle fractures occur very commonly, and they can result in post-traumatic arthritis developing if they are not managed appropriately. We see these fractures occur from twisting and rotation type injuries.
Most ankle fractures occur in one of four patterns:
Depending on which type of ankle fracture you have, the ligaments around the ankle are often damaged as well. Some of the ligaments, such as the deltoid ligament, doesn't always have to be surgically repaired as long as the ankle mortise is reduced well. The ankle mortise is where the tibia and fibula hold the talus in place. With anatomic reduction of this, the risk of arthritis developing can be decreased.
One ligament that should always be checked on ankle fractures is the syndesmosis. This is a thick ligament that holds the tibia and fibula together. If this is torn, it needs to be tightened and stabilized at the same time the fractures are fixed with plates and screws to help make sure the ankle joint is secure.
If the hardware that is used to fix the ankle fracture gives you pain, this may need to be removed. We typically try to wait 1 year before removing hardware to give the bones plenty of time to fully heal. The fibular plate is the one that most commonly bothers patients, because there is very little soft tissue over that part of the lateral ankle.
If you suffer an ankle or foot fracture, the team at Foot and Ankle Institute of Colorado is here to help you. We can often fix ankle fractures with an outpatient surgery done with a nerve block, so you don't have to spend time in the hospital. Call Dr. Hinderland and Dr. Cameron at 719-488-4664 if you are having any foot and ankle pain, so we can help you today!