The sudden impact of a car accident can cause a variety of injuries, including a fractured ankle, which could arise from using one’s leg to brace for the impact. Depending on the severity of the break, there could be a lengthy recovery and the possibility of even more physical complications.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that when a person suffers a foot-ankle injury in a car crash it most often happens in:
- frontal car crashes (76 percent);
- side impacts (13 percent); and
- roll-overs (eight percent).
Symptoms of a Fractured Ankle
Broken ankles are oftentimes mistaken as sprains because of the similarities in symptoms. It’s important to get checked out by a doctor following a car wreck, even if you don’t feel injured or believe you suffered only minor injuries. If there are multiple breaks, it could make the ankle unstable.
Common symptoms of a broken ankle include:
- severe pain;
- swelling; and
- difficulty putting weight on ankle or walking.
With a fracture, the ankle might also be tender to the touch. And if the bones are misaligned, deformities may be noticeable. A physical examination may be necessary to determine if it’s a sprain or break.
To diagnose a broken ankle, you may need to undergo imaging tests like:
- CT scan; or
- a stress test.
How a Broken Ankle is Medically Treated
Simple breaks generally don’t require surgery. Usually the patient is given medication to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. The ankle might be immobilized with a brace or cast.
When it does require surgery, metal plates and screws are often used to hold the bones in place and stabilize the ankle as it heals. Afterward the patient’s ankle is usually put in a splint and then a cast and the patient instructed to keep off of it. The healing period can take several weeks.
But of course, a more serious fracture could take longer. Recovery could take longer if tendons or ligaments were injured. Physical therapy could be necessary to improve strength and balance. But even after recovery, it could be several months before the person can resume walking normally.
Fractured Ankle Complications
There can be complications from a broken ankle that significantly impact an individual’s life. In some cases it may even cause permanent disability.
The following are just some of the complications that can originate from a fractured ankle:
- improper healing;
- arthritis (which could necessitate additional surgery to treat severe arthritis);
- plates and screws in the ankle cause pain, which may require them to be removed after a few months;
- infection from an open fracture; and
- nerve/blood vessel damage.
Recovering Compensation for Treatment Expenses
Patients whose broken ankle is the result of a car accident for which another driver is at fault can seek compensation for surgical and other medical costs by filing a car accident claim. Claimants may also pursue damages related to lost wages as well as pain and suffering.
If you suffered a broken ankle or other injury in an accident in the Arvada area, call D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation with an attorney.