Ankle Fracture

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

An ankle fracture is when 1 or more of the bones in your ankle break.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

  • You could get an infection or bleed too much with surgery. Even after surgery, your ankle may not go back to the way it was before, or your symptoms may not go away. A cast may cause discomfort and problems walking. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs or brain. This can be life-threatening.

  • Without treatment, an ankle fracture may cause problems with walking and activities, including sports. You may get an infection if you have an open wound. You may also have decreased blood supply to the injured area. This may cause the tissue to die and make amputation (removal of your foot) necessary.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Overhead trapeze:

This is a metal triangle-shaped grab bar that is hung on the frame of your hospital bed. Caregivers will teach you how to safely use the trapeze to move and change positions while in bed.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

Medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

  • Td vaccine: This vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent diphtheria and tetanus. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.

Tests:

  • X-ray: This is a picture of your ankle fracture. You may be given dye as a shot into your joint before the x-ray. This dye will help your joint show up better on the x-ray. A joint x-ray with dye is called an arthrogram.

  • CT scan: This is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your ankle. Caregivers check for a fracture and tissue damage. You may be given dye in your IV to help your caregivers see the images better. Tell the caregiver if you are allergic to dye, iodine, or seafood.

  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your ankle. An MRI is used to look for ligament tears or other injuries. You may be given dye in your IV to help your caregivers see the images better. Remove all jewelry, and tell caregivers if you have any metal in or on your body. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell caregivers if you cannot lie still or are anxious or afraid of closed spaces.

  • Bone scan: This is a test done to look at the bones in your body. The bone scan shows areas where your bone is diseased or damaged. You will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in your arm. The tracer collects in your bones. Pictures will then be taken to look for problems. Examples of bone problems include fractures (breaks) and infection.

Treatments:

  • Support devices: You may need a brace, cast, or splint to limit your movement and protect your joint. You may need to use crutches to decrease your pain as you move around.

  • Closed reduction: This is when caregivers put your bones back into their correct position without surgery. Ask your caregiver for more information about a closed reduction.

  • Open reduction: This is done when a closed reduction does not work or you have ligament damage. An incision is made and the bones and ligaments back in the correct position. This may include the use of special wires, pins, plates or screws. Ask for more information about an open reduction.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Ankle Fracture (Inpatient Care)

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