An Avulsion Fracture Of The Ankle Guide: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Surgery, And Recovery
Not every ankle injury is easy to identify, and most are painful. Most of us aren’t doctors, so we don’t know about avulsion fractures of the your ankle. We don’t know the symptoms, causes, recovery time, and treatment options available. Do you have a sore ankle and not know if your injury is serious? If so, you should read this guide on ankle avulsion fracture.
What Is Ankle Avulsion Fracture?
Ankle avulsion fractures are also commonly known as sprain fractures. They occur when a fragment of bone is pulled away at the tendinous or ligamentous attachment.
Although it can happen in several places on the human body, it often occurs at the ankle.
The avulsion fracture usually happens at the lateral aspect of the medial malleolus. This is the inner side of a person’s ankle at the lower end of their tibia. Sometimes an avulsion fracture of ankle will occur near the lateral malleolus. This is outside the ankle by the fibula or by the talus.
What Causes Avulsion Fractures Of Ankle ?
You might think an ankle avulsion fractureis like a regular ankle stress fracture, but this isn’t the case. A stress fracture will occur when you take part in repetitive impact-inducing motions. Instead, your ankle avulsion fracture occurs when you perform a sudden movement.
Avulsion fractures are also caused when you suddenly change direction. This usually twists the ankle causing injury.
The Groups Prone To Experiencing The Ankle Avulsion Fracture
Anyone can experience an avulsion fracture of ankle. Yet, the injury does occur more often in certain groups of people. Below we have mentioned who is most likely to experience an ankle avulsion fracture and why.
Children: Most at risk of experiencing the ankle avulsion fracture are children. This is because a child’s tendons and ligaments pull against their bones they are a part of while a child grows. Until a child has grown into an adult, they are more likely to suffer an avulsion ankle fracture. Usually, when participating in sports.
Athletes: Sometimes, athletes will experience avulsion fracture of the ankle. Often when participating in high-impact sports that are fast-paced. This is because some athletes place more pressure on their tendons than their bones.
Dancers: Often, dancers are more likely to experience avulsion fractures of the ankle. People who dance take part in vigorous and energetic movements. These movements cause pressure on their ankles and thus injuries.
How To Determine If You Have An Ankle Avulsion Fracture?
It can be challenging to determine if you have the avulsion fracture of your ankle. Luckily there are some common symptoms that will help you identify if you have this injury.
- A sudden strong feeling of ankle pain.
- A feeling of numbness or a tingling sensation around the ankle.
- Minor to severe pain when you try to move the ankle.
- A feeling of joint instability or total loss of function.
- Minor to severe swelling and bruising.
You should note that these symptoms are only a guide. You will need to seek medical attention for this type of injury. A doctor will examine your ankle. Usually, your doctor will get you to try and bend and straighten your ankle. By doing this, they can see if it is an avulsion fracture or a sprain.
Usually, an examination will be enough for a doctor to diagnose if you have an avulsion fracture. Yet, if they cannot diagnose your injury, they will perform tests that might include an X-Ray.
Suppose you feel that you have an avulsion fracture, you need to communicate this with your doctor. If a doctor treats your injury wrong, you could suffer nerve damage. This could lead to long-term difficulties with mobility.
Treatment And Recovery Time For An Ankle Avulsion Fracture
Often the treatment of an avulsion fracture of the ankle is not tricky. The first step is to administer simple first aid to the injury. After you have done this, you should consider seeking medical attention.
Based on what your doctor tells you, you might need to take your treatment one step further. This could mean you need to have a surgical operation.
Immediate First Aid Treatment - New Ankle Avulsion Fracture
You will need to use the RICE first aid method when you have a new ankle avulsion fracture. Yet, before you do this, you will need to immediately stop what you are doing and take the weight off your ankle. You should then check if you have any other visible injuries. If you feel the fracture is bad, you should place your ankle in a splint.
- Rest: To reduce the pain you are feeling and ensure your injury does not worsen, you need to rest. Make sure you don’t put any of weight on the fracture and limit how much walking you do.
- Ice: To reduce swelling, you should use an ice pack. It does not need to be a medical ice pack, as you can use a frozen bag of vegetables from the freezer. Yet, make sure you don’t apply the ice pack for more than 15 to 20 minutes three times daily.
- Compression: Another way to reduce the swelling of your ankle is to apply compression. You can use a compression bandage or a compression brace. The compression will place pressure on your bone. This will reduce the swelling around your ankle.
- Elevation: One of the most crucial steps you can take to reduce the pain and swelling is to elevate the injury. You need to elevate your ankle and place it above your heart. Prop your ankle up with pillows or lie on the floor with your ankle placed on a higher surface.
The medical treatment you get for an avulsion fracture of the ankle will depend on your doctor. Yet, there are a few common treatments your doctor might prescribe.
- Medicine: To reduce pain and swelling, your doctor will likely prescribe medication. Usually, they will give you anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen.
- Rest: Often, a doctor will prescribe rest even if you don’t need a fracture to be set or surgery. When a doctor prescribes rest, they likely want you to use a mobility aid.
- Movement: To ensure there is no movement, a doctor will prescribe a splint or cast. Sometimes they will want you to wear a walking boot to stop the avulsion fracture from moving.
- Exercises: Usually, a doctor will want you to exercise your ankle once it has had some time to heal. They will get you to perform specific ankle exercises that improve your ankle’s mobility. These exercises will also strengthen the injured area.
If the traditional recovery methods don’t work or your injury is too severe, you might need surgery. Often a person only needs surgery when the fracture has pulled too far away from the bone. A bone that is stretching too far away does not fuse naturally.
Yet, how are these severe avulsion fracture cases treated? A form of open reduction internal fixation surgery is the answer. Often this type of surgery will involve steel wires, sutures, screws, and tension bands. These medical tools work as anchors. They provide stability to the fractured bone allowing it to fuse and heal.
How Long Does It Typically Take For An Avulsion Ankle Fracture To Heal?
How long it takes for your avulsion ankle fracture to heal will depend on how severe it is. It will also depend on if you’re following the treatment plan your doctor prescribed.
Usually, a typical avulsion fracture will take between three to twelve weeks to heal. But, if you wear a medical boot or have the ankle in a cast, your recovery time should be between six to eight weeks.
Factors that Affect Healing Time
You need to know two critical factors that affect the healing time of your avulsion fracture.
- Being Diabetic: Diabetics can have a harder time healing avulsion fractures. Usually, this happens if they use the wrong mobility aids. People with diabetes should wear specific healing boots that cater to them.
- Smoking: Some studies point to smoking prolonging a fracture healing time. In some instances, smoking can even cause your fracture to stop healing altogether. You should consider slowing down or quitting while your injury heals if you smoke.
The Mobility Devices Used For The Recovery Of Avulsion Fractures of The Ankle
Do you have an ankle avulsion fracture? Using a mobility device can help you manage pain and recover quicker. These devices will help you walk without further injuring yourself. Below, we have mentioned the three best mobility devices. You should consider using them when you have a fractured ankle.
A hands-free crutch is a device that allows you to keep your injured ankle off the ground. With this device, you place your knee on a platform and secure it.
Usually, there is a strut on top of a prosthetic foot with a curved sole. The design of a hands-free crutch is ergonomic, so it helps you have a smooth walking gait.
Tthey will sometimes experience pain elsewhere. Standard crutches can also be cumbersome and difficult to use. That’s why it’s crucial to get a set that is comfortable to use with the right height and weight ratings.
A Knee Scooter
With a knee scooter, you will bend your knee at a 90-degree angle and place it on a platform. This platform is on top of a frame that has wheels. These aids come with handlebars, so it is easy to steer them to get to where you need to be.
It can be hard for some to differentiate between a fracture of the ankle and a typical ankle sprain. Yet, now you know the symptoms, causes, and treatment options. You are also aware of recovery times associated with an avulsion fracture of your ankle.
With this information, you can identify if you have an avulsion fracture. You will also know how to treat it yourself and what to expect when you seek medical attention.
Unfortunately, severe avulsion fractures sometimes need surgery. That’s why you must see a doctor. They can administer the proper treatment you need to ensure your injury heals.