Skip to Content

External Fixation Of An Ankle Fracture


What do I need to know about external fixation of an ankle fracture?

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

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines you may or may not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your healthcare provider will align the broken bones together by carefully pushing, pulling, and turning your leg, ankle, or foot. He will try to do this without making a cut on your skin. He may have to make small cuts on your skin for bones that are hard to reach. He may use a fluoroscope (x-ray) to help him insert pins and correctly align the bones.
  • Holes will be made in your bone above and below the fracture using a drill. Screws and long metal pins will be inserted through the holes to keep the bones aligned properly. The pins will stick out through your skin, and other rods and devices will be attached to them. An x-ray may be done to see if the bones were set in the right way. Bandages will be wrapped around the areas where pins were inserted.

What are the risks of surgery?

You may bleed more than expected and get an infection. Other parts of your ankle and foot, such as nerves, blood vessels, ligaments, muscles, and bones, may be damaged. Your leg, ankle, or foot may become stiff, numb, and weak. Even after surgery, you may still have ankle pain or problems moving your leg or foot. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities, such as sports.

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 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 IBM Watson Health

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

Micromedex® Care Notes