Treatments for a broken ankle or broken foot will vary, depending on which bone has been broken and the severity of the injury.
Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
After your bone has healed, you'll probably need to loosen up stiff muscles and ligaments in your ankles and feet. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to improve your flexibility and strength.
Surgical and other procedures
- Reduction. If you have a displaced fracture, meaning the two ends of the fracture are not aligned, your doctor may need to manipulate the pieces back into their proper positions — a process called reduction. Depending on the amount of pain and swelling you have, you may need a muscle relaxant, a sedative or even a general anesthetic before this procedure.
Immobilization. To heal, a broken bone must be immobilized so that its ends can knit back together. In most cases, this requires a cast.
Minor foot fractures may only need a removable brace, boot or shoe with a stiff sole. A fractured toe is usually taped to a neighboring toe, with a piece of gauze between them.
- Surgery. In some cases, an orthopedic surgeon may need to use pins, plates or screws to maintain proper position of your bones during healing. These materials may be removed after the fracture has healed if they are prominent or painful.
May 19, 2017
- 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.
- Sprains, strains and fractures. American Podiatric Medical Association. http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=982. Accessed Dec. 17, 2016.
- Ankle fractures (broken ankle). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00391. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.
- Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Accessed Dec. 10, 2016.
- Toe and forefoot fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00165. Accessed Dec. 11, 2016.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.