How do I Treat a Broken Ankle?

Nicholas J. Novak

Like any broken bone, a broken ankle typically should be taken care of immediately after injury. It usually is advised that a broken ankle should be treated by a professional. Without immediate access to a doctor, the basic way to treat a broken ankle is to position it as if it were not broken, and to keep it still and protected. This typically allows the bone to heal itself by rebuilding the ankle with newly created cells.

A broken ankle needs rest.
A broken ankle needs rest.

It usually is important to have a doctor examine the injury, as a broken ankle may require surgery. There are numerous ways in which a bone can break; it typically is important for the doctor to know how the break occurred in order to successfully repair the break. To figure out how extensive a break is, you probably will need an x-ray. You also may need a splint which typically is most efficient when administered by a professional.

X-rays are used to determine the severity of a ankle fracture.
X-rays are used to determine the severity of a ankle fracture.

Once your ankle is in the healing position, there are still things you can do to help it heal. For instance, be careful to not break it again. Placing direct pressure on the ankle usually is not advised. The ankle should be kept elevated and comfortable. That does not mean you should remain inactive since activity can help strengthen the new bone.

Feeding the bone-growing process can be important, as well. You typically will need to consume large amounts of calcium, as well as vitamin D. Drinking milk that is high in calcium and getting enough sunlight can help the process. Eating foods that are rich in calcium can help, too. You may need to purchase some over-the-counter vitamin D and calcium pills to ensure that you are getting enough of each into your system.

Depending on the break, your broken ankle may be extremely painful. A doctor might prescribe strong pain killers to ease the pain. He also might recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol® or aspirin. One final medicine that can help in recovery is for you to keep an up-beat attitude. Optimism by a patient has been shown to speed recovery from numerous illnesses.

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