A broken ankle occurs once any bone in the ankle is fractured. It is important to note that this can occur once the individual sustains a fall or while playing sport. Oftentimes, a broken ankle can also occur if the individual was involved in a vehicular accident. Regardless of the causes, it is vital that an individual with a broken ankle will receive appropriate first aid care so that the healing process can start.
Always remember that a broken ankle must be assessed by a doctor. In case a doctor is not available, you can bring the individual to the emergency department at the nearest hospital. An X-ray is requested since it can reveal the exact location of the fracture in the ankle. Additionally, it will also help determine the severity of the break.
Application of a splint or cast
A cast or splint can be applied to the broken ankle. They are required in order to promote the proper healing of the broken ankle. Always remember that the ankle must not be allowed to move so that the affected bones will start to fuse back together.
Application of ice
If you suspect that an individual has a broken ankle, you can use ice to treat the injury. All you have to do is to place ice in a plastic bag and wrap it with a clean cloth or towel. Apply it over the cast for 20 minutes and then remove it for 20 minutes. This must be done for the initial 48 hours after the injury was sustained. The swelling can drastically reduce once ice is applied. In some cases, the doctor can recommended the application of ice before the cast is put in place so that it will fit after the swelling subsides.
The doctor might also recommend the use of crutches. The individual can walk only by using a pair of crutches. It is vital that the individual will keep his/her weight off of the broken ankle until it fully heals. If crutches are not used and the individual insists on moving, it will cause further injury and will lengthen the healing process.
With the help of pillows, you can use them to elevate the affected ankle every time the individual sits down or lies down. The objective is to raise the ankle higher than the level of the heart.
The individual can be given pain medications during the start of the healing process. Once the pain is reduced, it can help relax the muscles that will allow the ankle to heal at a faster rate. You can provide acetaminophen every four to six hours or ibuprofen every six to eight hours. If in doubt, it is best to consult a doctor for the right dosage or if a stronger one is prescribed.
Important considerations to bear in mind
Once the cast is applied on the affected ankle, you can utilize plastic bags to cover it when the individual takes a bath or shower.
Instruct the individual to avoid sticking any objects into the splint or cast to scratch the skin in case it gets irritated. Take note that this can damage the skin.