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A “fracture” or “break” of the ankle usually involves the bones that form an arch around the ankle joint (tibia or fibula). Your Doctor will decide how best to manage your bone fracture. This may be in a plaster cast, a boot, with surgery or a combination of these to help the bone to heal.
Your Doctor or Physiotherapist will be able to guide you on how much weight to put through your ankle as it is healing. It is likely you will be given elbow crutches or a Zimmer Frame to make sure you are safe when moving around.
How long it takes you to recover will depend on the type of ankle fracture you have sustained and other factors such as age, underlying health conditions and general fitness. If you are a smoker, this can considerably delay the healing process (ask your healthcare professional for further advice).
Following your injury or surgery it is important to keep moving but to do so in a safe way. You will be told how much weight you can put through the ankle. This table explains the different types of weight bearing after an injury.
Following an ankle fracture you may be referred to Physiotherapy to help you return to the activities that are important to you. You may also receive input from Occupational Therapy if you require help or advice about returning to work.
The early stages of rehabilitation will focus on:
If you have swelling at the ankle or lower leg, make sure you try these steps below:
After you have had your plaster cast removed, or have been told to wean out of your boot by your Physiotherapist or doctor you can start these gentle exercises below.
These exercises get progressively more challenging so start with stage 1 and gradually work up to stage 2 as pain allows. Try and complete these exercises 2 or 3 times a day and complete 10-15 repetitions. You can do more or less depending on your symptoms.
You will be guided through more advanced exercises by your Physiotherapist, working towards aims and goals tailored to you. At a later stage, exercises can be designed for higher level activities such as running and sports, depending on what you want to get back to. This can take several months due to bone and tissue healing – ask your Doctor or therapist for further advice.