Ankle surgery is required when an individual suffers from an ankle fracture. The fibula (outer leg) and the tibia (shin) compose the upper part of the ankle joint. The tibia forms from the front, rear, and inner part of the ankle joint while the outer part of this joint is where the lower fibula forms. The ends of the bones are called malleoli, as the tibia has two malleoli while the fibula has only one. Ankle fractures are a result of when these malleoli are broken. The number of broken malleoli differs, as one, two, or all three malleoli can be broken by an ankle fracture. There are many ways to fracture an ankle, ranging from a simple fall to a severe car accident.
Ankle Fracture Symptoms
There are many ankle fracture symptoms to be aware of such as swelling, bruising, pain, and difficulties moving the ankle. If these symptoms are present, X-rays are used to determine the severity of the fracture and whether surgery is a necessary stage in the healing process. If the X-rays determine that the ankle is in position and stable despite the fracture, surgery may be avoided. In addition, if the patient has a severe medical condition surgery may not be recommended as it can put them at risk for complications. However, if these X-rays indicate that the ankle is unstable or in a bad position, surgery may be needed to repair the ankle. A more obvious indicator that surgery is required is if the bones of the ankle poke through the skin, known as an open ankle fracture.
Ankle Surgery Procedure
The ankle surgical procedure involves giving the patient antibiotics and anesthesia before surgery. Then when surgery begins, incisions are made through the ankle skin in the region where the bones are broken. These broken bones are then repositioned and held in place through the use of implants, which involves using metal plates and/or screws. Once this is completed, the patient’s leg is placed in a splint made of plaster to act as a means of protection. It is common for patients to go home immediately after surgery to recover. However, it is possible that they may need to stay overnight in the hospital to heal before returning home.
After surgery the ankle will be immobilized for a few weeks, allowing the wounds to heal. Once healed, the patient can be fitted in a cast or a boot which are usually removable allowing them to wash, ice, and check their wounds. This removable boot allows the patient to place weight on their ankle. Eventually the patient can begin to wean out of the boot entirely once the broken bones are healed completely. When healed, normal activities can resume however physical therapy may be useful to help regain full movement and strength of the ankle.
It is important to take note of the general risks involved when undergoing surgery. Firstly, there are risks associated with anesthesia, infection, damage to nerve and blood vessels, and bleeding or blood clots. After surgery, the patient may experience ankle joint stiffness, weakness, or arthritis. In addition, they may get an infection or have difficulties healing. Patients who have diabetes, use steroids, or smoke cigarettes are at higher risk for surgical complications.
The Canadian government recognizes the challenges faced by a family unit with a member who has undergone ankle surgery and has incentives in place to reduce their tax burden. At Disability Credit Consultants we specialize in obtaining disability credits for individuals and families supporting members with disabilities. If you are supporting a family member who has undergone ankle surgery you may qualify for the Disability Tax Credit. There are several steps involved in claiming the credit, and certain conditions need to be met.
Call Disability Credit Consultants at 1-855-752-0288 to find out more.