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Acute fracture

When a bone has been broken as a result of a sudden injury. Bones can be re-aligned using minimally invasive surgery. Damaged or stretched ligaments and tendons can also be repaired and tightened up.

What is it?

The bone in the ankle is broken as a result of sudden injury. This might be caused by a direct impact, or by a sudden twisting, where the supporting ligaments and tendons become so hyper-extended that bones of the joint hit each other. When the ankle is severely twisted, it is also possible for two ligaments that are attached to one bone to pull in opposite directions, fracturing the bone between them.

If a fracture is caused by twisting, the stabilising ligaments may also have been damaged, making dislocation or mis-alignment of the bones more likely - especially if you put weight on the ankle after the injury.

How does it feel?

You might hear a sound at the time of the break and sharp pain at the point of impact, which often goes away after several hours. There is likely to be bruising or swelling, and the joint may look misshapen. If the ankle is sprained it can make it hard to pinpoint the symptoms of a fracture.


An x-ray will show any fracture to the bone, and ascertain if the bones have been displaced. The surgeon may also use an MRI scan to see if the soft tissue around the break has been damaged.


If bones have been displaced due to the fracture, they will be re-aligned using minimally invasive surgery, and held in place with fixation devices such as pins, screws and small metal plates. Damaged or stretched ligaments and tendons will also be repaired and tightened up.


Usually, you will have a cast or aircast boot on your ankle for up to four to six weeks. You may not be able to put weight on your foot for four to six weeks after surgery, depending on the type of fracture and surgery.

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