Ankle Fracture

F.A.Q. | Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be allowed to weight bear on my leg?

Xray showing a fracture of the Fibula.
Xray showing a fracture of the Fibula.

It is important you follow the doctor’s advice regarding whether or not you should be walking or putting any weight through your foot. This advice will be specific to your injury and your treatment (surgery or just a cast).

With some ankle fractures that are relatively minor, you are able to weight bear on your ankle. If this is the case, you will not be placed in plaster but in a special boot and will be able to weight bear as tolerated.

All other types of ankle fractures require being placed in plaster. When you are in plaster you may not take any weight on that leg (see non-weight-bearing). Consequently, you will need crutches or a wheelchair to get around.

Your recovery will depend on the type of the fracture and method of treatment.

What should I do if I have a problem?

If you experience severe pain, excessive swelling, inflammation or discharge please report it to your GP. If necesssary, go to your local emergency department.

Will I be ok long-term? What should I expect in the future?

Usually, the more complicated unstable fractures are associated with poorer recovery. This is not however a hard and fast rule. In general, you should expect some degree of difficulty with the following aspects of ankle movement:

  • Flexibility
  • Range of movement (ROM) – this term refers to how far you can move your ankle. In the short-term period after the plaster is removed, many people notice they have noticably limited range. With physiotherapy and time this gradually improves, however subtle limitations may persist long-term. Your surgeon and physio should be able to give you some idea of what you should expect, however keep in mind that people heal differently and it is impossible to predict precisely how well the return to function will be.
  • Osteoarthritis and other joints – it's important to remember that the ankle is part of a system involved in walking. This system includes the knee, hip and lower back as well as the other leg, and damage to the one part of the system can affect any other part. This sometimes means that slight deformities in the ankle increase the risk of developing arthritis in the knee, hip or back later in life.


13 August, 2012