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External Fixation of an Ankle Fracture


External fixation of an ankle fracture is surgery to repair your broken ankle.



  • Medicines can help decrease pain and prevent a bacterial infection. Ask how to take prescription pain medicine safely.
  • 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Ask your healthcare provider when you need to return to have your wound checked and the stitches or pins removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


You may have to use crutches for some time while your bone heals. Your healthcare provider may teach you how to use crutches.

How to care for the pin sites:

The pin sites are the areas of skin where the pins were inserted. To prevent infection, do the following:

  • Check the skin around the pins every day.
  • Clean the skin around the pins with hydrogen peroxide and a sterile solution twice a day. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop using hydrogen peroxide.
  • Ask your healthcare provider when it is okay to get the pin sites wet while bathing.

Physical therapy:

A physical therapist may teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have increased pain or swelling in your ankle that does not go away.
  • Your leg, ankle, or foot is swollen and feels tight.
  • Your skin or toes on the injured side turn blue or white or they feel cold, numb, or tingly.

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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.

Learn more about External Fixation of an Ankle Fracture (Discharge Care)

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