Foot And Ankle Fracture Treatment

What is it?

Many different bones make up the foot and ankle, and injuries to this area of the body can lead on to a number of potential dislocations or fractures. Most commonly these are ankle joint fractures, a fracture at the base of the fifth toe, and snowboarder’s fracture, which is a break of the bump on the back of the bone between the heel and the lower leg bone.

Why does it occur?

Because of the number of bones within the foot and ankle, and the complexity of how they work together, injuries often occur during rotational or twisting forces applied to the area. Some are severe and will require a trip to an Accident and Emergency department, while other more minor injuries may only become apparent after a period of time when they do not heal.

What are the symptoms?

Foot and ankle fracture symptoms range from ongoing and persistent pain and discomfort following the diagnosis, for example, of an ankle sprain, to severe deformity and swelling following a more major trauma.

How is it diagnosed?

Because of the intricacy and complexity of the foot and ankle joints, your consultant will begin by giving your foot a careful examination. Alongside appropriate imaging in the form of x-rays or scans, your consultant will be able to differentiate between minor injuries that require little more than rest, to more severe fractures that need urgent attention.

How is it treated?

Non-surgical treatment

By far the majority of minor foot and ankle injuries can be treated with supportive boots or a plaster cast. This will represent most of the calf bone or toe fractures. Changing your  footwear and physiotherapy will also help your recovery.

Surgical treatment

For unstable pattern ankle fractures, surgery may be the only option. The use of plates and screws to help repair  certain types of toe fracture may be required, and injuries such as snowboarder’s fracture, as mentioned above, will also most likely require surgery. All options will be discussed with you by your consultant. 

Treatment options

Ankle fracture fixation

Gait analysis

Brace and boot treatment

The One Orthopaedics team specialists

Julie Kohls

Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon FRCS (Tr & Orth)