Ankle Fractures

What is an Ankle Fracture?

The ankle is a common location for breaks in children.  The ankle joint is made up of three bones: the tibia (shin bone), the fibula (smaller bone on the outside of the leg), and the talus (bone beneath the shin bone).  The talus is rarely broken in children, whereas the tibia and fibula are frequently injured.  A broken ankle can occur after a fall or twisting injury.  Some signs of a possible broken ankle include: swelling, pain, inability to walk on the leg, deformity of the lower leg.

Both the tibia and fibula have growth plates at the end near the ankle joint.  In many cases, the growth plate is injured during the break.  If the growth plate is involved and there is a question as to its alignment, your doctor may order a special test called a CT scan to better assess this.

Some ankle fractures can be treated in a boot or cast, frequently with a short period of limiting the weight on the effected leg.  In other cases when the fracture is not aligned properly, the patient may require sedation in the emergency room or the operating to realign the bones.  In older patients, this may also require the placement of wires, screws or plates in order to hold the bones in place until they are healed.  If your child requires realignment of the bones, he or she will be placed in a cast until the bones are healed.