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Ankle Dislocation

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

An ankle dislocation happens when the bones in your ankle joint move out of place. You may also have an ankle fracture (break in the bone). An ankle dislocation and fracture may need surgery.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Return to the emergency department if:

  • The skin around your ankle begins to feel hot, tight, or is shiny or pale.
  • Your cast or splint feels too tight.
  • Your ankle, foot, or toes feel numb.

Call your doctor or bone specialist if:

  • You have trouble walking, or more swelling, pain, or stiffness in your ankle, even after you take your medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Rest your ankle:

You will need to rest your ankle for 6 weeks after your injury. Do not put pressure on your ankle for long periods of time. This will help keep your ankle safe from more damage, and help it heal faster. Ask your healthcare provider when you may return to your normal daily activities. Movement and activity are helpful for healing. After 6 weeks, practice walking as directed.

Apply ice to your ankle:

Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your ankle. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

Compress your ankle:

You may need to use an elastic bandage to compress (put pressure on) your ankle to help decrease swelling. Compression also helps support your ankle and allows it to heal. Wear your ankle wrap for as long as directed. You may also need a brace, short leg cast, or splint to help protect your ankle. A splint is a type of brace that keeps your ankle stable. Ask how to care for your brace, cast, or splint.

Elevate your ankle:

Elevate your ankle above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your ankle on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.

Elevate Leg

Use crutches, if directed:

You may need crutches to help you walk while your ankle heals. Crutches help you keep your weight off your ankle, and help prevent more ankle damage.

Walking with Crutches

Go to physical therapy, if directed:

A physical therapist can teach you exercises to increase the range of motion in your ankle. Exercises make your ankle stronger, increase balance, and decrease pain. You may be told to continue the exercises after physical therapy ends to help prevent another dislocation.

Follow up with your doctor or bone specialist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.