Surgical Information – Procedures
Ankle Fracture Repair
What is ankle fracture repair?
Ankle fracture repair is surgery to repair a broken ankle. The procedure is known as an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). First, the surgeon repositions the two ends of the facture into their normal alignment (reduction). The surgeon then inserts special pins, plates or screws to hold the bones together in the proper position as they heal (internal fixation). Normally, the metalwork is not removed unless it becomes a problem. The ankle is immobilized in a cast, splint or removable brace for several weeks to enhance the healing process.
The ankle is a complex joint that forms where three bones come together: the tibia (shinbone), the fibula (the small bone of the lower leg) and the talus (a foot bone that sits above the heel bone). The tibia and fibula are above the joint and the talus is below the joint. Numerous ligaments surround the ankle joint, connecting the bones to each other.
When is surgery recommended?
If your ankle fracture is severe, unstable or not healing properly, repair surgery may be necessary. Surgery is needed if any bone has broken through the skin, a condition known as a compound fracture.
What is the recovery time?
Healing from an ankle fracture repair usually takes about six weeks. However, it may take longer to regain full movement of the lower leg and foot. For most patients, rehabilitation is necessary to restore strength, flexibility and range of motion. How soon you return to work and activities depends on the fracture's severity and the type of work you do. As with all surgical procedures, specific recovery time varies by patient and demand.