Broken Ankle (Ankle Fracture)

This information is useful for children and adults
Broken Ankle

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Whether caused by a simple misstep or a trauma such as a car crash, a fractured (broken) ankle is a painful and common injury.

Broken ankles can vary significantly in severity from a tiny crack in the bone to a large crack to multiple cracks. But even minor ones can immobilize you and require proper treatment to fully heal. This is important because a tiny misalignment now can lead to osteoarthritis down the road, making your joints stiff and limiting your range of motion.

The ankle joint is made up of three bones: the shin bone (tibia), outer ankle bone (fibula), and a bone in the foot between the leg and heel bones (talus). The ankle can fracture in more than one place, and the surrounding ligaments (which connect the bones to stabilize the joints) are also often damaged.

The appropriate treatment depends on the location or locations of your fracture. What is also critical, is whether the fracture is stable, meaning the ankle joint remains in appropriate alignment when forces are applied to it (such as when walking). Many fibula fractures may require wearing a walking boot or cast for a period of time, whereas most tibia fractures need surgery. When both the tibia and fibula are fractured, or the joint is shifted or dislocated, surgery is usually the best option. At Yale Medicine, orthopedic surgeons from our Foot & Ankle Surgery Program are experienced in treating all types of ankle fractures.

“At Yale Medicine, we have a team of highly trained orthopaedic foot and ankle specialists and orthopaedic trauma specialists. Fractures that are complex and rare are routine because of the volume and variety of injuries we see on a daily basis,” says Sean Peden, MD, a Yale Medicine foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. Our operating room team of surgeons, nurses, and other support staff are committed to providing the best care utilizing cutting edge technology and research.”