Ankle Fracture Surgery

Ankle Fracture Surgery, Knee and Shoulder InstituteAn ankle fracture is said to occur when the malleoli, the ends of the ankle joint bone, are broken. Ankle fractures are quite common, and may happen due to twisting of the ankle, falls, and vehicle accidents. The fracture may result in the breaking of one or two or all three malleoli.

Pain, bruising, and swelling may occur due to ankle fracture, which can be corrected with surgery. Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler are board certified orthopedic surgeons providing ankle fracture surgery and other procedures to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.


Surgical Need and Goals

The primary goal of the ankle fracture surgery is to enable the ankle joint to heal and return to a normal shape. Once the ankle is restored to its original shape, the next step is to regain normal movement. The long-term surgical goal of repairing a fractured ankle is to reduce the risk of ankle arthritis in the future.

If the ankle bones poke through the skin, it is known as open ankle fracture and will require surgery. An unstable ankle fracture will also require surgery to repair the ankle. However, if the ankle retains its position and stability despite the fracture, an ankle fracture surgery will not be required.



 The patient will be administered antibiotics and anesthesia prior to the surgery. Once this part is completed, the surgeon will make incisions through the skin of the ankle to reach the broken bones. The surgeon will reposition the breaks in the bone and hold them together with implants.

Once the ankle fracture has been repaired, the patient’s leg will be placed in a protective splint made of plaster. Many patients may be able to return home the same day after surgery. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for ankle fracture surgery.


ORIF Technique

A majority of ankle fracture surgeries may involve a specific technique called open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). In this technique, the surgeon will place an incision over the ankle to view the underlying fractured bones. Through an open reduction approach, the broken bone pieces will be set back together.

Using internal fixation, these pieces are then held together in correct position with the help of metal plates or screws. Stability is provided due to internal fixation technique, and the patient can begin movement of the ankle shortly after surgery as the fracture heals.



With ankle fracture surgery, the patient’s ankle function is restored while the bones and joints heal. The ankle will be immobilized for a few weeks following the surgery. Once the wound healing is completed, the patient will be fitted for either a boot or a cast.

Removable boot may be used in many cases because it protects the ankle as it heals, and can be removed to allow for cleaning, icing, washing, and wound checks. Some patients may require physical therapy to restore full movement and strength of the ankle.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394

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