Aftercare of an external ankle fracture

How is an outer ankle fracture treated?

The follow-up treatment following an external ankle fracture depends on how complicated the fracture was (and whether there were accompanying injuries) and what kind of therapy was required for the external ankle fracture. In general, however, the following principles can be followed: Whether the fracture was treated conservatively or surgically, it is always necessary to stabilize and immobilize the ankle joint after treatment. This means that the affected person either gets a plaster cast (in the case of a simple fracture, splints are sometimes sufficient), which he/she should normally wear for about six weeks, or that he/she should not appear with his/her entire body weight for the same period.

However, while relieving the injured leg, it is absolutely necessary to carry out a mobilisation as early as possible and followed by physiotherapeutic treatment. Physiotherapy can normally begin a few weeks after the operation of the external ankle fracture. Initially, the patient should only ever put partial weight on the leg, which means that he/she should initially walk with crutches only.

Early training of mobility in the ankle joint is therefore so important in order to regain the original mobility, strengthen the muscles, improve the gait pattern and accelerate the healing process. How strong the loads are allowed to be depends strongly on the individual course of healing of the outer joint fracture, but also on the opinion of the doctor and must be decided on a case-by-case basis. In order to be able to assess this, regular clinical and X-ray checks are necessary.

For most of those affected, however, it can be assumed that about 6 to 8 weeks after the fracture of the outer joint, it should be possible to increase the load until full weight bearing is achieved. From this point on, the gait pattern should be as fluid as before and joint-friendly sports such as swimming or cycling should generally be possible again. Other sports activities that are more strenuous, such as tennis or football, should be avoided for a few months, but can be resumed three to six months later at the latest. Approximately one year after the operation on the external ankle fracture, the metal parts used (screws or plates or other material) are finally removed.