The ankle joint is made up of 3 bones, the tibia and fibula (shin bones) and the talus (ankle bone). The 2 bony prominences of the ankle are known as the lateral malleolus (distal fibula) and the medial malleolus (distal tibia). Apart from a bad sprain or high ankle sprain, fractures can also happen here.🦶
The biggest group affected are teenagers as a high percentage of them take part in contact sports. Similar to an ankle sprain, the mechanism of injury is mostly rotational, but can also occur from an external blow or trauma.
The symptoms of a fracture are:
💢 Immediate severe pain
💢 Swelling, bruising, tenderness
💢 Obvious deformity
💢 Inability to walk
If the fracture is severe and displaced, meaning that the bones are out of alignment, surgery is recommended.🦴 If the fracture is deemed as stable, meaning it is either a mild fracture and/or the bones are still aligned, a cast or airboot may be preferred. Either way, the leg is immobilized for 4-6 weeks to allow the bones to heal.
Due to this period of immobilization, muscle wasting and stiffness is normal due to the lack of active muscle use. Swelling can occur also due to the lack of movement and gravity, causing blood to pool in the ankle. Cartilage degeneration within the joints may occur. In some cases, the bones don’t heal properly or not at all, resulting in malalignment or non-union of the broken pieces. 🤕
Physiotherapy is important to help identify and treat some of these issues. For example, swelling, pain, stiffness, and tightness can be reduced via electrophysical agents⚡, manual therapy👐, and simple appropriate exercises. Subsequently, the exercises will be progressed accordingly to regain mobility and prepare the individual to return to sports and activities. ⛹️
Whilst fractures may not be entirely prevented, there are some ways to reduce the risk of fracture. This includes:
☑️ Gradually increasing the exercise intensity
☑️ Wearing appropriate footwear
☑️ Regular ankle strengthening exercises
☑️ Eating a healthy diet
Send us a DM or contact us at 82182905 / 62620970 to find out more!📱
📝1. Scheer, R. C., Newman, J. M., Zhou, J. J., Oommen, A. J., Naziri, Q., Shah, N. V., … Uribe, J. A. (2020). Ankle Fracture Epidemiology in the United States: Patient-Related Trends and Mechanisms of Injury. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 59(3), 479–483.
📝2. Larsen, P., Rathleff, M. S., & Elsoe, R. (2018). Surgical versus conservative treatment for ankle fractures in adults – A systematic review and meta-analysis of the benefits and harms. Foot and Ankle Surgery.
📝3. Ankle Fracture. (2021, March 21). [Illustration]. https://www.orthopaedicsurgeon.com.sg/ankle-fracture/
📝4. Crocker, B. (2018, July 25). Tibia Fracture - Broken Tibia. PhysioAdvisor. https://www.physioadvisor.com.au/injuries/lower-leg/tibia-fracture/
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