An ankle fracture is a break or crack in one or more of the bones that make up the ankle joint. These bones are the tibia, fibula, and talus.
Usually a broken ankle happens when the ankle is twisted.
When the ankle is broken, you may hear a snapping or popping sound. Symptoms may include:
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and how the injury happened. Your provider will examine your child. Your child will have X-rays of the ankle.
A child's bones are different from an adult’s bones in a couple ways. A child’s bones are more flexible and may crack rather than break. Or they may just buckle slightly. Also, the bones are still growing from areas near the ends of the bones called growth plates. A fracture in a growth plate may affect the growth of the bone but it may be hard to see with X-rays. Sometimes special tests are needed to diagnose fractures in the growth plate.
The treatment depends on the type of fracture. If the broken bone is crooked, your healthcare provider will straighten it. Your child will be given some medicine first so the straightening is not painful. Sometimes surgery is needed to put the bones back into the correct position.
Your healthcare provider may put the ankle in a cast, splint, removable boot, or Aircast to keep it from moving while it heals.
Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Also:
Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests. Call your healthcare provider right away if:
Children tend to heal faster than adults, but healing times are different from one person to the next. As a rule, most fractures heal in 4 to 6 weeks.
Most broken ankles are caused by accidents that are not easy to prevent. However, shoes that fit well and give good support can help prevent injury.