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Ankle fractures

What is it?

An ankle fracture is a broken ankle. Fractures can be thin cracks or complete breaks that shatter. Ankle fractures cause pain, bruising and swelling. There are several types of ankle fractures. The most common type is called a distal fibula fracture.

An ankle fracture is often caused by an injury or trauma. Common causes include a twisted or rolled ankle, or heavy impact from falling. If you have an ankle fracture, you will need an X-ray to confirm the fracture type. From there, your GP can plan your treatment program.

Treatments for an ankle fracture include surgery or keeping the ankle still. Ankle fractures take six to 10 weeks to fully heal.


What will my GP do now?

Your GP may give you pain relief and check the type of ankle fracture you have. If your ankle fracture is serious, it may need surgery. If it is mild, you may just need to keep it still for several weeks. Your GP may give you a splint for your fracture to keep it still.

Your GP may suggest you see a specialist to check the type of fracture and make a treatment plan.


What will my GP do in the future?

Your GP may check on your ankle fracture while it heals.
If your ankle remains swollen, weak or stiff, your GP may suggest you see a physiotherapist for treatment and
more scans. Your GP may discuss how to slowly ease back into sports and how to tape your ankle to support it
and prevent another injury.

What questions could I ask my doctor?

  • How long will my ankle take to heal?
  • What pain relief medication should I take?
  • What activities should I avoid?

What can I do?

Follow your GP’s advice about treatment and keeping your ankle still. Ask your GP about strength exercises, when you can return to sports and if you need to avoid anything.

Keep an eye on your symptoms and see your GP if you notice pain or swelling.


Where can I learn more?

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

    How to Use Crutches, Canes, and Walkers

  • Healthdirect: Ankle Fracture Surgery

Important: This information is to be viewed by someone who has received a diagnosis from their doctor. It is not designed to be used to diagnose a condition or as a substitute for ongoing medical care.

Health Resource Directory factsheets are endorsed by South Western Sydney PHN’s Community Advisory Committee and local GPs

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