Preventing Chronic Joint Instability After an Ankle Fracture

Preventing Chronic Joint Instability After an Ankle Fracture

A broken ankle is devastating, especially when you're active. Proper care and treatment are necessary during and after a fractured ankle to prevent complications from happening.

One of the complications you could encounter after an ankle fracture is chronic joint instability, which interferes with your daily activities and sets you up for further injury.

At the University of Toledo PhysiciansDr. Nabil Ebraheim and our team provide you with the best care to ensure your ankle fracture heals properly. Dr. Ebraheim is an esteemed orthopedic surgeon who helps you prevent instability in your ankle after an injury.

Complications of ankle fractures

Ankle fractures affect just about every aspect of your life. There are several different types of ankle fractures, each of which causes pain in your joint and possibly damage to surrounding structures like your tendons and ligaments.

Proper treatment of your ankle fracture is necessary to prevent problems with your bones healing or issues within your ankle joint. Some of the possible chronic complications of ankle fractures include:

A malunion is when your bones don't heal in the proper alignment. A nonunion is a severe situation, when the bones don't heal. Joint instability is another complication that can become chronic after an ankle fracture that doesn't heal correctly.

What is chronic joint instability?

Chronic joint instability usually occurs after repeated injury to the same joint over time. The recurrent injuries weaken the supporting structures in the joint, causing the joint to become unstable and give out.

After an ankle fracture or several ankle sprains, you're at a heightened risk for chronic ankle instability. Sprains and fractures stress the ligaments and tendons, especially on the lateral aspect of your ankle joint.

You often feel like your ankle joint will give out if you have chronic ankle instability. You also think your joint is shaky and unstable, especially during physical activities.

In addition, you may notice that the affected ankle is sometimes painful, and you might even have chronic swelling or tenderness around the joint.

One of the significant symptoms of chronic ankle instability is the feeling of your ankle turning over, especially with activities like sports that include running. Your ankle is often more unstable on uneven surfaces, raising your risk for falls and repeated ankle injuries.

Avoiding ankle instability after a fracture

After suffering an ankle fracture, you must seek treatment right away. At your appointment, Dr. Ebraheim thoroughly assesses your ankle fracture to determine the type and extent of damage within your joint.

Dr. Ebraheim also orders imaging studies like an X-ray and MRI to see your joint's bones, ligaments, and tendons. These imaging studies help him determine the best treatment route for your specific fracture.

You"ll need to be in a cast or boot for several weeks after an ankle fracture to allow the bones to heal. If your fracture is severe, Dr. Ebraheim may need to perform surgery to realign the bones and secure them with plates and screws while they heal.

Chronic ankle instability is a real threat to your joint health during the healing process. The best way to prevent this is through the proper rehabilitation plan.

Dr. Ebraheim wants you to start physical therapy as soon as possible once the bone heals and your cast or boot is off. Physical therapy is the best way to ensure your tendons and ligaments regain strength after being immobilized for several weeks to months.

The physical therapy team provides you with home exercises and stretches to strengthen the supporting structures in your ankle joint. These structures become strong again over time, allowing them to support your joint, even after a fracture.

Another way to prevent chronic ankle instability after an ankle fracture is to follow Dr. Ebraheim's orders closely, especially when putting weight on the injured ankle.

Bearing weight too soon after a fracture may cause your bones to shift, injuring your tendons and ligaments or causing the fracture to heal inappropriately. Either of these issues leads to instability in your joints.

If you've suffered an ankle fracture, don't hesitate to call our office at 419-383-3761 or request an appointment with Dr. Ebraheim online. You can also learn more about chronic joint instability on our YouTube channel.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Am I Too Young for a Knee Replacement?

When knee pain is so severe that nothing helps, and it affects your life, you might need a knee replacement. But are you too young for it? Keep reading to determine if age is a factor when considering reconstructive knee surgery.

Can an ACL Tear Heal on its Own?

ACL tears are significant injuries that lead to instability in your knee joint. If you tear your ACL, can you deal with it on your own? Read on to discover if your ACL injury can heal by itself or if you need professional care.

My Sciatic Nerve Pain Is Affecting My Quality of Life

Sciatica is a chronic condition that may significantly affect your day-to-day life. If you're struggling with pain, don't lose hope — some therapies can help. Discover what to do when sciatic pain is ruling your life.

What to Expect from Physical Therapy After Hip Surgery

Hip surgery is a way to relieve pain from osteoarthritis or other conditions — but how should you prepare for recovery? Physical therapy is a vital aspect after hip surgery. Read on to learn about physical therapy after your hip procedure.

How Effective Is Surgery for Chronic Knee Pain?

When your knee hurts all the time, it’s hard to get anything done. Chronic knee pain puts a damper on both your work and social life. Keep reading to learn how surgery for chronic knee pain can change your life.