Published: Nov. 11, 2010
Updated: Dec. 29, 2010
Fractures, or broken bones, of the foot and ankle are common injuries. Because our feet and ankles are necessary for walking, it is important to properly treat fractures.
The ankle is a joint that forms where three bones come together. The bones of the lower leg, the tibia and the fibula, are above the joint, and the talus is below the joint. A broken ankle typically refers to a broken bone of the tibia or fibula.
The foot itself contains 26 bones. When one of these bones is fractured, your foot is considered broken.
Bones usually break when something crushes, bends, twists, or stretches the bone. Most bones break suddenly during an accident or direct injury.
Occasionally, small cracks can form in bones over a long period of time from repeated stress on the bones. These are called stress fractures.
Fractures are typically characterized by:
If you suspect that you have fractured your foot or ankle, you should see your doctor or go to the emergency room.
A physical examination by your doctor, with focus on pain and range of motion, will help determine diagnosis. Typically x-ray imaging will confirm that the injury is a fracture and rule out any underlying conditions.
Treatment for a broken bone in the foot or ankle depends on which bone is broken and how it is broken. Typically, a broken bone in the foot or ankle is treated by:
At Duke Orthopaedics, our specialists often perform surgery to treat various types of ankle fractures. The following video demonstrates ankle fracture surgery.