Any one of the three bones that make up the ankle joint could break as the result of a fall, an automobile accident or some other trauma to the ankle. Because a severe sprain can often mask the symptoms of a broken ankle, every injury to the ankle should be examined by a physician.
- Immediate and severe pain
- Tender to the touch
- Inability to put any weight on the injured foot
- Deformity, particularly if there is a dislocation as well as a fracture
A broken ankle may also involve damage to the ligaments. Your physician will order X-rays to find the exact location of the break. Sometimes, a CT (computed tomography) scan or a bone scan will also be needed.
There is a wide range of how people heal after their ankle injury. It takes at least 6 weeks for the broken bones to heal and may take longer if ligaments and tendons are also injured. Your doctor will most likely monitor the bone healing with repeated x-rays. Although most people return to normal daily activities, except for sports, within 3 to 4 months, studies have shown that people can still be recovering up to 2 years after their ankle fractures. It may take several months for you to stop limping while you walk, and before you can return to sports at your previous competitive level. Most people return to driving within 9 to 12 weeks from the time they were injured.