Broken Ankle Symptoms

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Broken ankles are common injuries. Also referred to as a fractured ankle, this injury often happens along with an ankle sprain, although not always. The ankle is a complex joint that is made up of three bones: the fibula, tibia, and talus. It is important to understand broken ankle symptoms so that it is possible to tell the ankle is badly injured so that treatment can be promptly sought.


A broken bone will always cause some degree of pain and a broken ankle is no different. The pain is often described as throbbing and it happens immediately following the injury. With rest, the pain typically decreases, but it will increase with activity. The affected ankle is also usually tender. The patient will not be able to put weight on the affected ankle and will not be able to walk on it.

Symptoms you can See

When the ankle is broken, it disturbs all of the structures of the joint, meaning the damage is not just limited to the affected bone. Because of this, patients often have some degree of swelling and bruising. When this joint is severely broken, it may also appear to be deformed.


Punctures are a possible broken ankle symptom. In some cases, bone fragments may protrude through the skin, and these wounds could require stitches.

Symptoms you can Hear

Some patients state that when they broke their ankle, they heard a snapping sound. However, this sound is possible with other ankle injuries.

Bone Infection

Also referred to as osteomyelitis, a bone infection is possible with a broken ankle. If the fracture a patient has is open, this gives bacteria the chance to invade. If bacteria gets into the broken bone, an infection may result.

Blood Vessel or Nerve Damage

Any type of trauma to the ankle, such as a broken ankle, puts patients at risk for experiencing blood vessel or nerve damage. Trauma can result in the adjacent blood vessels and nerves becoming injured. If this occurs, immediate treatment is necessary. Circulation problems and numbness can result. If there is not enough blood flow to a bone, it can result in the bone collapsing and dying.

Compartment Syndrome

This is a neuromuscular condition that may result from a broken ankle. A high-impact injury puts patients at risk for experiencing this. The affected muscles can become disabled. If this occurs, swelling and pain are typically present.


Arthritis may result from broken bones that extend to a joint, such as the ankle joint, years later. Long after breaking the ankle, if any pain or other arthritis symptoms are present, patients should consult a doctor.


Mayo Clinic. (2009). Broken Ankle/Broken Foot. Retrieved on February 27, 2011 from the Mayo Clinic:

eMedicineHealth. (2011). Ankle Fracture. Retrieved on February 27, 2011 from eMedicineHealth: