Preparing for your appointment

You will likely initially seek treatment for a broken ankle or broken foot in an emergency room or urgent care clinic. If the pieces of broken bone aren't lined up properly for healing, you may be referred to a doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery.

What you can do

You may want to write a list that includes:

  • Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
  • Information about medical problems you've had
  • Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
  • All the medications and dietary supplements you take
  • Questions you want to ask the doctor

For a broken ankle or foot, basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What tests are needed?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • If I need a cast, how long will I need to wear it?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • What activity restrictions will need to be followed?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • What pain medications do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:

  • Was there a specific injury that triggered your symptoms?
  • Did your symptoms come on suddenly?
  • Have you injured your ankles or feet in the past?
  • Have you recently begun or intensified an exercise program?

What to do in the meantime

If your injury isn't severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room, here are some things you can do at home to care for your injury until you can see your doctor:

  • Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, every three to four hours to bring down the swelling.
  • Keep your foot or ankle elevated.
  • Don't put any weight on your injured foot or ankle.
  • Lightly wrap the injury in a soft bandage that provides slight compression.
May 19, 2017
References
  1. Brunicardi FC, et al., eds. Orthopedic surgery. In: Schwartz's Principles of Surgery. 10th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.
  2. Sprains, strains and fractures. American Podiatric Medical Association. http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=982. Accessed Dec. 17, 2016.
  3. Ankle fractures (broken ankle). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00391. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.
  4. Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.
  5. Toe and forefoot fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00165. Accessed Dec. 11, 2016.
  6. Tintinalli JE, et al. Foot injuries. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2016. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.
  7. Stress fracture. American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society. http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/conditions/ailments-of-the-midfoot/pages/stress-fractures.aspx?PF=1. Accessed Dec. 17, 2016.
  8. Once is enough: A guide to preventing future fractures. NIH Osteoporosis and Bone Diseases National Resource Center. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.