What you need to know about ankle fractures

Ankle fractures are common injuries among people of all ages. Over the past 30 to 40 years, however, doctors have noted an increase in the number and severity of broken ankles, due in part to an active, older population.

Unlike an ankle sprain, a fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone. These fractures can range from the less serious avulsion injuries (small pieces of bone that have been pulled off) to more severe breaks of the tibia, fibula, or both.

Ankle fractures are most often caused by the ankle rolling inward or outward. In many cases, an ankle fracture is mistaken for an ankle sprain, but they are quite different and therefore require an accurate and early diagnosis.

Other causes include:

  • Twisting or rotating your ankle
  • Tripping or falling
  • Direct impact to the ankle

Ankle injuries are defined by the bone, ligament, or tendon that’s damaged. The ankle is where three bones meet — the tibia and fibula of your lower leg with the talus of your foot. These bones are held together at the ankle joint by ligaments, which are strong elastic bands of connective tissue that keep the bones in place while allowing normal ankle motion.

When a patient sustains a fracture it means that one or more of the three bones in the ankle has suffered a break. By comparison, an ankle sprain occurs when there is damage to ligaments when they are stretched beyond their normal range of motion. A ligament sprain can range from many microscopic tears in the fibers that comprise the ligament to a complete tear or rupture.


An ankle fracture is accompanied by one or all of these symptoms:

  • Pain at the site of the fracture
  • Swelling at the site of the fracture
  • Blisters may occur over the fracture site.
  • Bruising at the site of the fracture
  • Tender to touch
  • Difficulty walking
  • Change in the appearance of the ankle
  • Bone protruding through the skin—a sign that immediate care is needed.


If you have sustained ankle injury, regardless of your own personal diagnosis, it is important to have the area evaluated by a foot and ankle surgeon for proper diagnosis and treatment. At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, performs a thorough examination in order to properly evaluate the injury and craft a personalized treatment plan. In many cases, X-rays and other imaging studies will be needed in order to fully understand the extent of the damage.

Surgical Treatment

If the fracture is out of place or the ankle is unstable then surgery may be needed to fix the problem. During this type of procedure, the bone fragments are repositioned into their normal alignment and held together by special screws and/or metal plates.

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The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.DelrayBeachPodiatry.com without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:


16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33445



8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472