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Family Foot & Ankle

Complications from an Ankle Fracture

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In real life, things are often not quite as simple as they first appear. If you’ve ever, say, gone through a software “upgrade” at work, you probably know what we’re talking about. When it comes to ankle fractures, even those that require surgery, we work hard to make sure any unexpected problems are kept to an absolute minimum.

The good news is that, in the grand scheme of things, ankle fracture complications are relatively rare compared to many other surgeries. That said, it’s important to seek treatment right away and carefully follow all your surgeon’s post-operative rehab and recovery instructions to minimize your risk. Some possible complications include:

  • Post-traumatic or early-onset arthritis. This is one of the most common complications and may take several years after surgery to set in. It may occur even if the surgery was performed correctly and all reasonable recovery steps were taken. If you notice pain localized at the site of a former break, see our office for an evaluation.
  • Bone nonunion or malunion. This is what happens when a complex fracture fails to heal, fails to heal completely, or heals in a slightly misaligned position. It may lead to arthritis, limit your range of motion, and cause pain.
  • Compartment syndrome. Your lower leg has four “compartments” that contain bundled muscles. An ankle fracture can put added pressure on these areas, causing them to swell and potentially damaging muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
  • Bone infection. If your fracture is severe enough that bone is exposed to the air, or an open wound is allowed to fester, a bacteriological infection can set in.

Although no surgery can be guaranteed to be 100% complication free, you are best served by seeking immediate treatment from an experienced foot and ankle surgeon and then carefully following their instructions for home recovery and rehab. In Greater Cincinnati, trust your ankles to Family Foot and Ankle Center. We have six locations and a team of dedicated experts to serve you. Request an appointment online, or give us a call toll free at 888-689-3317.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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