Common Types of Child Ankle Fractures

A sprained foot or broken ankle is painful and causes short term disabilities among all. In case of any damage to the special tissues within the ankle, the recovery becomes complicated. And for a child with a sprained foot, if the injury is in the growth plate if the ankle, special attention needs to be given so it doesn’t lead to any permanent injury. Two main types of fractures occur in the ankle, details are as follow:

Distal Tibial Fracture

Two further types occur in the case of distal tibial fracture:

  • The Displaced form; In this form, the fragments of the fractured bones are either separated or misaligned.
  • The Non-Displaced Form; In this form, the fragments of the fractured bones are aligned.

When the non-displaced fracture happens concerning the distal tibial, it seems to be an ankle sprain. It starts with swelling followed by pain which makes it difficult for a child to even walk. If you get an x-ray done of the injured muscles, it will show a very mild fracture. Thus, physical examination by the physicians preferably orthopaedic can help in better diagnosis for getting the treatment done. In the first phase of the treatment, a child will be needing braces or even a cast for assistance in the walk. Sometimes walking boots also help. This treatment works for 3 to 4 weeks. It is very uncommon for a growth arrest to get this type of fracture.

It is very essential to have an accurate and true diagnosis of the issue so the decision for surgery could be taken. During the displaced fractures, sometimes the growth of the bones stop. Thus, for the examination and diagnosis of any probable damage to the ankle joint, it is good to get a clinical examination done with the help of an x-ray. Also to ensure there is no permanent damage to the growth plate, the child’s ankle needs to be examined for the next 1 to 2 years.

In case of any mild fracture owing to distal tibial fracture, treatment is done with casting. You might be asked to get done an MRI or CT scan for finding it a surgical procedure is required.

Distal Fibula Fracture

This type is common in both displaced and non-displaced types.  The non-displaced distal fibula fracture is more like ankle sprains. The treatment of the sprains is more like the same as in the case of displaced tibial fracture. Parents need to go for a follow up for 1 to 2 years so see if there is any disturbance in the growth of the joint.

The fracture of the displaced distal fibula needs surgical treatment in case the fracture leads to the ankle joint. The ultimate goal of the surgery is to align the joint surface and make is properly aligned and smooth. In case the displacement doesn’t align.

Pediatric orthopaedic are expert in the diagnosis, treatment and provision of medical care. The immediate examination needs to find an accurate solution to the injury.


An ankle fracture or sprained foot can occur to any child at any age. Parents need to pay special attention to the diagnosis so any permanent damage to the ankle joint could be avoided.