Patience is definitely a virtue—just ask a sports fan in Cincinnati, where the Reds are looking for their first championship since 1990 and the Bengals are still looking for their first ever. It’ll take some patience on your part to recover from a broken ankle as well, though at the very least we can promise you that, with proper care, you should back at full strength in a lot less than 25 years (and counting)!
Recovery times from broken ankles vary depending on the location and severity of the break, the type of surgery performed, your age and health status, and your ability to get plenty of rest and follow all your surgeon’s instructions. As you can imagine, the range can be quite wide. Nonetheless, we’ll give you some general guidelines.
If the break is stable—that means the bone is still in the right spot and there’s no major damage to the surrounding joint or ligament—you may be able to avoid surgery, treating the injury simply with a leg cast or brace. In fact, many ankle fractures heal quite well with simple immobilization, provided you’re able to stay off the foot. Under these favorable conditions, healthy patients may be walking in normal shoes again after just 4 to 8 weeks, with a return to strenuous athletic activity several months later. First the bones will heal; then it’s a matter of regaining strength and range of motion through physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Unstable or complex fractures with more soft tissue damage will generally require surgical repair, and take longer to fully heal, potentially several months, with longer rehabilitation times as well. Plates or screws may need to be inserted in order to hold bones in place as they heal, and may also need to be removed later (although in some cases they may also remain in place).
Though no one likes to be off their feet for so long, we promise that a healthy, fully healed ankle is more than worth it. If you suffer any kind of broken ankle, trust the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center in Greater Cincinnati to help you heal fully and get back on your feet as quickly as possible. Stop by one of our 6 area locations, or set up an appointment with us online or by calling toll free at 888-689-3317.