A broken ankle or broken foot is a common injury that may occur from a car crash or a simple misstep or fall. Fractures can range from a partial to a complete break in the bone. Treatment for a broken ankle or broken foot depends on the exact spot and seriousness of the fracture. Surgery may be recommended for a severe broken ankle or broken foot in order to implant plates, rods, or screws into the broken bone to help maintain proper positioning during healing.


Some of the following signs and symptoms have been known to have been experienced by individuals with a broken ankle or broken foot:

  • Severe, throbbing pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness
  • Deformity
  • Restricted movement


The most common causes of a broken ankle or a broken foot include:

  • Car accidents
  • Missteps and falls
  • Impact from drop of a heavy weight onto the foot
  • Overuse due to activities involving repetitive force 

Risk Factors

Risk factors associated with a broken ankle or broken foot may include the following:

  • Participating in high powered sports such as football, hockey, gymnastics, tennis, snowboarding and others may cause a foot or ankle fracture.
  • Working environments such as construction sites may increase risk of falling or dropping heaving objects on the foot.
  • Cluttering of home environments may lead to falls and ankle/foot injuries.
  • Having fragile bones (osteoporosis) or other medical conditions of the foot.
  • Use of improper or faulty sporting  equipment


Although uncommon, complications that may arise from a broken ankle or broken foot may include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Compartment syndrome: This condition causes pain, swelling and sometimes disability in affected muscles of the legs or arms.


There are a few basic steps and safety precautions that each individual should take to help prevent a broken ankle or broken foot. These include:

  • Wearing proper foot attire
  • Replacing athletic shoes regularly
  • Cross-training to prevent stress fractures
  • Starting activities slowly and pacing oneself
  • Building bone strength by eating and drinking calcium-rich foods
  • Using night lights to avoid hitting or walking into objects
  • Decluttering of the home to avoid trips and falls
  • Strengthening the ankle muscles by exercising correctly