When tending to people experiencing ankle fractures, it is vital that we, as bystanders, know what to do.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 9th Dec 2021.
5 Things To Do Immediately If You Have Fractured Your Ankle
When tending to people experiencing ankle fractures, it is vital that we, as bystanders, know what to do. The least we can contribute to the person’s well-being is by calling the ambulance right away, especially if the injured body part is profusely bleeding uncontrollably.
Warning signs to look for: An ankle or foot that is numb, cold, pale, or blue.
You also need to call for help if the injured person is unwilling to lift their foot or is deteriorating before you (faint, pale, with rapid shallow breathing).
Leave Protruding Bone Alone
If a bone has fractured through the skin, do not try to reposition it. Cover the wound with a clean bandage and get medical help right away.
For 15 minutes, apply constant, direct pressure with a cloth and elevate the wound. If blood seeps through, place another cloth over it and get medical attention immediately.
Remove any ankle bracelets or toe rings you might have.
If emergency help isn't accessible right away, use RICE therapy:
- Rest ankle by having the person stay off of it. If required, crutches can be used.
- Ice the area. Cover the ice in a clean cloth or use an ice pack. Ice should not be put directly on the table against the skin.
- Compress by using an “ace" bandage or an elastic ankle brace to wrap the ankle loosely (not tightly)—do not attempt to align the bones.
- Elevate Ankle above the level of the heart
Manage Pain and Inflammation
Give ibuprofen or aspirin as an over-the-counter pain reliever. If you have heart disease or kidney failure, you can avoid ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. Anyone under the age of 18 should not be given aspirin.
See a Doctor as Soon as Possible and Follow Up
- The ankle, leg, and foot will be examined and X-rayed by the doctor. A CT or CAT scan and an MRI could be used to determine if surgery is needed.
- If necessary, the doctor will reposition the fractured bone and immobilise the ankle with a splint, cast, or another device. It's possible that surgery would be needed to patch the fracture.
- Kaiser Permanente: “Toe, Foot, and Ankle Injuries."
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Ankle Fractures."
- Family Doctor: “Ankle Problems."
- Ankle Fracture Information from eMedicineHealth.