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ORIF of an Ankle Fracture
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of an ankle fracture is surgery to fix a broken ankle. Medical wires, screws, pins, or plates are used to hold the bones in place while they heal.
- Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Antibiotics: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better.
- 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:
You will need to return to have your wound checked and stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Use crutches: Crutches will decrease the stress on your ankle when you walk. It is important to use crutches correctly. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about how to use crutches.
- Ask when you can bathe: When you are allowed to bathe, cover your cast with 2 plastic bags. Tape the bags to your skin to keep the water out. Keep the cast out of the water so it does not get wet. If you do not have a cast, carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.
Cast or splint care:
- Check the skin around the cast or splint every day. Apply lotion on any red or sore areas.
- Do not push down or lean on any part of the cast or splint, because it may break.
- Do not scratch the skin under the cast with any sharp or pointed object inside the cast.
- If your splint is too tight, gently loosen it so that your toes are comfortable.
A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- Your cast gets wet.
- Your cast or splint begin to smell.
- You have more pain or swelling than you did before the cast or splint was put on.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- Your cast or splint breaks or gets damaged.
- Your toes look pale or blue, feel numb, or tingle.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You cough up blood.
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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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.