Hairline Fracture Ankle


A Few Facts About Hairline Ankle Fracture

A hairline ankle fracture doesn't sound as serious as an ankle fracture where a bone actually separates into two (or more) pieces, and it isn't. A clean fracture, or a compound fracture in the ankle will immediately disable a person, as no weight at all can be placed on the ankle. A hairline ankle fracture on the other hand may be painful, and in fact usually is, but weight can sometimes still be placed on the ankle, and while the range of motion of the ankle may be lessened and walking may be painful, a person with such a fracture can still get around.



The Bone Can Heal, The Bone Can Break – Basically, two things can happen if one has a hairline ankle fracture. If the ankle is rested, which usually would require a walking cast of some type, the fracture will heal, and in a very young person will usually heal fairly quickly. If the fracture is not taken care of it may not heal, or at least not heal properly, and the affected bone could eventually break.

The usual symptoms associated with a hairline ankle fracture are swelling, pain or tenderness at the ankle joint, at times accompanied by bruising. As mentioned above, one still may be able to walk on the ankle, although the range of motion of the ankle will usually be affected, but in some instances one cannot place any weight at all on the ankle, even if it is "only" a hairline fracture.

If there is good news regarding a hairline ankle fracture it would be that while a walking cast and/or crutches will usually be required, surgery will not, and the insertion of pins, plates or screws will normally not be necessary.

The Malleoli (Ankle Knobs) - If you feel the knobby protrusions on either side of your ankle, those are the ankle bones most commonly fractured, hairline or otherwise. These bones, called malleoli, are actually the knobby ends of the lower leg bones, the fibula and the tibia. The lateral malleolus is the knobby end piece of the fibula, the thinnest of the two leg bones, and is the knob you can feel on the outside of your ankle. The medial malleolus is at the end of the tibia, the larger of the lower leg bones, and is the bony knob you can feel on the inside of your ankle. A fracture can also occur in the talus, a wedge-shaped bone in the ankle, but this bone is located deeper inside the ankle and is therefore not as susceptible to being fractured.

Trauma Or Stress - A hairline ankle fracture can either be the result of a blow to the ankle or it can be what is more commonly known as a stress fracture, where the bone breaks, though not completely due to being overly stressed. These kinds of fractures are more common in athletes, especially runners, but can occur in other sports as well whenever  the ankle is subjected to an unusual degree of stress.

Under normal circumstances,  the shock and stress the ankle experiences in running or participating in athletics is taken up by the muscles. If the muscles become fatigued, more and more of the stress and shock is absorbed by the ankle bones, leading to the possibility of a hairline ankle fracture  Very often, any pain that might be felt is initially slight, with tenderness being a better word, and the problem is more apt to be thought of as being a muscular issue rather than a fracture. It will progressively get worse over time, but may require an x-ray, MRI, or CAT scan to confirm a fracture indeed exists. An X-ray does not always indicate a stress fracture exists, though will usually show the presence of a hairline fracture. To confirm the presence of a stress fracture or a hairline fracture, a more MRI or CAT scan may be required, which usually involves greater expense.

Hairline fracture or not, recovery time can in some cases take up to 12 weeks.