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Can You Walk on a Fractured Ankle?

Can You Walk on a Fractured Ankle?

Can you walk on a fractured ankle?
Ankle fracture is a common fracture, which refers to a bone fracture or rupture in the ankle area. Twisting, rolling, rotating your ankle while running or walking, tripping or falling from a height, or even collisions such as during a road accident can cause a fractured ankle.
In the event of a serious ankle fracture, you may need surgical intervention. You may have a simple break in the bone or several fractures at a time. These are usually the types that will require surgery.
With a fractured ankle, you cannot move around as freely or perform activities such as driving, playing sports, and working. However, some people may still want to know, “Can you walk on a fractured ankle? Let's discuss this.

Fivali Ankle Brace with Arch Support - Guide

 

Can You Walk on a Fractured Ankle?

A serious ankle fracture may involve a non-displaced bone, a displaced bone fragment, or even broken bones penetrating the skin. Regardless, can you walk on a fractured ankle? Here is what you need to know!

1. The Walking Risks

Some symptoms you will notice with a broken ankle include immediate and severe pain, and you may find it difficult to put any weight on the injured foot.A small fracture may not hurt you as much, but this does not mean you should be putting any weight on it. To allow it to heal properly, you need to isolate it from external stress so it doesn't complicate the fracture further.Forcing yourself to walk on your broken ankle could cause:

  • Poor healing because of unstable bones
  • Increased pain and swelling due to excessive weight-bearing
  • Prolong recovery time

2. Ankle Fracture Healing Time

How long does a fractured ankle take to heal? Depending on the complexity of your ankle fracture, it takes 6 to 12 weeks for the bone to heal and longer for it to regain its full range of motion. [1] 
During this time, you may experience swelling, pain, and difficulty walking. It means that you should avoid walking for at least 6 weeks or until your doctor gives you the go-ahead.
During recovery, the goal is to keep the bones as close as possible so they may heal properly and prevent any malalignment. Therefore, limited movement is recommended. Any misalignment during healing could lead to arthritis in the future.

3. Recovery Level for Walking

If your ankle fracture does not demand surgery, you can start walking on your own within six to eight weeks. If you require surgery, then you need to wait more than 12 weeks.
You may get a cast for 2 weeks, after which you may need to move around using crutches for the next 4 to 6 weeks. The pain and swelling can persist for months before it begins to feel comfortable. It may even take a year to fully recover, depending on your age, the severity of your case, and your overall health.


Causes of Ankle Fractures and People with High Risks

Now you know the answer to the question, "Can you walk on a fractured ankle?" But what about the causes? The ankle forms with the conjunction of three bones: the talus, the fibula, and the tibia.

Any injury to these bones could lead to an ankle fracture. Here are the many causes of ankle fractures and the types of people more prone to fracturing their ankles.

1. Causes of Ankle Fractures

An ankle could be the result of a direct injury. For example, a fall or blow to the ankle could break the three bones.
A vast majority of ankle fractures are the result of indirect violence, typically by poor positioning of the feet, such as torsion, compression, or bending of the feet.
Accumulated strain on the muscles and bones of the ankle may also lead to an ankle injury. For example, long-distance running may lead to ankle fractures, also known as stress fractures.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes a decrease in bone density. It’s easy to cause foot and ankle fractures. According to data statistics, it causes over 1.5 million fractures each year, including foot and ankle fractures.[2]

2. People Who Are Prone to Fractures

  • People who enjoy high-intensity exercise, gymnastics, or sports such as football, tennis, athletics, gymnastics, and basketball are more prone to fractures. These fractures are usually the result of improper technique or direct blows to the ankle.
  • The growth plates in children take time to grow and harden as children grow, making them prone to fracturing.
  • The elderly are also prone to ankle fractures as they have poor bone density and are prone to falling. In fact, ankle fractures are the third most common skeletal injury in the elderly. [3]
  • People who have a history of fracturing their ankles.
  • Obese people have more body mass to support, and people who lack physical exercise.
Fivali Ankle Brace for Pain - Guide

 

Manifestations of Ankle Fractures

An ankle fracture typically comes with a host of symptoms that make it easy to diagnose it early on. How to tell if my ankle is broken? Some key symptoms you will experience include immediate severe pain, swelling of the muscles surrounding the ankle, bruising, and tenderness.
You may find it difficult to put weight on your ankle or walk around. In severe conditions, the bone may visibly pierce through the skin. Patients can even see ankle deformities and hear bone fricatives while moving the ankle joint.
Can you walk on a fractured ankle in such a case? No, you should visit the closest medical emergency center.

 

How to Treat or Alleviate Ankle Fractures?

The time required for recovery will vary depending on the type of ankle injury you suffer from. However, the general treatment follows the same patterns. Here is a general guide for how an ankle fracture is treated.

1. Timely Medical Diagnosis

Ankle treatment begins with a medical diagnosis. Doctors will have an X-ray generated of the ankle to assess the type and severity of fractures. For compound fractures, patients may need surgical intervention.
Doctors will then provide patients with a recovery plan suited to their case, including the time needed for a full recovery. Patients will also be able to know how quickly they can get back on their feet and get exercises for broken ankles that will assist them.

Can a broken ankle heal on its own? The ankle bones may shift with a fracture and must be treated for proper recovery.

2. Ice Therapy

While waiting for the next treatment, an ice compress can help to alleviate pain and swelling. Ice compress for 15-20 minutes each time and multiple times a day. Pay attention to avoid direct contact with the skin with ice to prevent frostbite.

3. Cast, Splints, and Ankle Braces

For severe fractures, doctors will use casts, splints, or ankle braces to fix the ankle. This helps with a quicker and more optimized recovery.

Ankle braces such as Fivali’s products can be used during the rehabilitation phase to support your ankle and shorten the recovery period.

4. Surgical Procedures

In cases of severe fractures or bone dislocations, patients may have to opt for surgery to properly fix the bone. Surgical methods include the use of screws, steel plates, or other useful devices to stabilize the bones while they heal.

Fivali Adjustable Ankle Support - Guide

 

Fivali’s Ankle Braces for Recovery

Now you know the answer to "Can you walk on a fractured ankle?" and the causes and treatment options. Ankle braces are an excellent remedy that can help alleviate and quicken the recovery.
Fivali is one of the leading suppliers of adjustable ankle braces for ankle recovery. We offer a wide range of adjustable ankle braces that support your ankle bones while they recover.
Our adjustable ankle support typically includes velcro straps to hold the ankle in place, lace-ups for quick placement and removal, and rotation buttons to loosen the straps quickly. You can pull the ankle braces to find the best fit for your ankle, ensuring a quicker recovery.
Check out our complete catalog of ankle brace with arch support here.

 

References

[1] Everything You Need to Know About Treating and Rehabbing a Broken Ankle. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/broken-ankle#injury-types (Accessed: 24 June 2024)
[2] IS YOUR FOOT OR ANKLE FRACTURE AN EARLY SIGN OF OSTEOPOROSIS? Available at: https://footankleofflorida.com/is-your-foot-or-ankle-fracture-an-early-sign-of-osteoporosis/ (Accessed: 24 June 2024)
[3] Ankle fractures in the elderly: risks and management challenges. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6209347/ (Accessed: 24 June 2024)

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