Icy Conditions Cause Falls and Broken Ankles

Don’t Let Winter Be Your ‘Fall’ Season

iStock_000059387850_LargeIcy conditions cause falls and broken ankles.

With winter weather, serious injuries from ice-related falls inevitably occur. Falls on icy surfaces are a major cause of ankle sprains and fractures, and it’s critical to seek prompt treatment to prevent further damage that can prolong recovery. The ankle joint in particular is vulnerable to serious injury from hard falls, twists or sprains.

Ice accelerates a fall. The speed in which one slips is much faster and often causes more severe trauma because the foot can go in any direction after slipping. In cases of less severe fractures and sprains, it’s possible to walk and mistakenly believe the injury doesn’t require medical treatment. Never assume the ability to walk means your ankle isn’t broken or badly sprained. Putting weight on the injured joint can worsen the problem and lead to chronic instability, joint pain and arthritis later in life.

Some people may fracture and sprain an ankle at the same time, and a bad sprain can mask the fracture. It is best to have your foot or ankle evaluated as soon as possible to properly diagnose any problems. If you can’t get to a doctor’s office right away, follow the RICE technique – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – until you can be seen.

Fractures are often associated with:

  • Pain at the site of the fracture that can extend from the foot to the knee
  • Significant swelling
  • Blisters over the fracture site
  • Bruising soon after the injury
  • Bone protruding through the skin—a compound fracture, which requires immediate attention!

Most ankle fractures and some sprains are treated by immobilizing the joint in a cast or splint to foster union and healing. However, surgery may be needed to repair fractures with significant mal-alignment to unite bone fragments and realign them properly. With newer bone-fixation methods, however, there are smaller incisions to minimize tissue damage and bleeding, leading to a quicker recovery time.

For further information about ankle fractures and sprains or other foot and ankle problems, contact Triad Foot Center at any of our three convenient locations in the Piedmont, or click here to request an appointment.

Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in our blogs, videos, or in any other content or linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For a full disclaimer, please click here.