May also be called: Lateral Malleolar Fracture
A lateral malleolus (muh-LEE-uh-lus) fracture is a type of broken ankle that happens when part of the fibula just above the ankle joint fractures.
The bony knobs on the inside and outside of the ankle are called the malleoli, which is the plural form of malleolus. The knob on the outside of the ankle, the lateral malleolus, is the end of the fibula, the smaller bone in the lower leg. When this part of the bone fractures, or breaks, it's called a lateral malleolar fracture. This type of fracture can be caused by twisting of the foot and ankle, a trip or fall, or a direct blow to the ankle.
Lateral malleolus fractures can cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising in the injured ankle. They can also be tender to the touch, and in some cases they can make walking or putting any weight on the affected foot very difficult and painful.
The lateral malleolus can fracture at a number of different levels, and treatment often depends on where the fracture is located. If the broken bone is not out of place and the ankle is stable, treatment may consist of just wearing a special boot or cast to immobilize the ankle as it heals.
In some cases, though, surgery has to be performed to align the bone and hold it together with metal plates, rods, or screws. In general, it takes at least 6 weeks for the broken malleolus to heal.
A lateral malleolus fracture usually requires the person to keep weight off the affected foot for a few weeks. In most cases, people return to normal daily activities within 3 to 4 months. Stretching and strengthening exercises supervised by a doctor or physical therapist can help improve ankle function and mobility during the healing process.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) The AAOS provides information for the public on sports safety, and bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries or conditions.|
|The Facts About Broken Bones What happens when you break a bone?|
|Dealing With Broken Bones A broken bone requires emergency medical care. Find out what to do in this printable instruction sheet.|
|A to Z: Fracture, Bimalleolar Learn about types of lower extremity fractures and conditions that can affect the ankle and lower leg.|
|X-Ray Exam: Ankle An ankle X-ray can help find the cause of symptoms such as pain, tenderness, and swelling, or deformity of the ankle joint. It can also detect broken bones or a dislocated joint.|
|Word! Fracture When a bone breaks, it's called a fracture.|
|Broken Bones Although many kids will have one at some point, a broken bone can be scary for them and parents alike. Here's the lowdown on what to expect.|
|Broken Bones, Sprains, and Strains Broken bones and torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons happen. Find out what to do if your child experiences any breaks, strains, or sprains.|
|Broken Bones Bones are tough stuff - but even tough stuff can break. Find out what happens when a bone fractures.|
|Bones, Muscles, and Joints Our bones, muscles, and joints form our musculoskeletal system and enable us to do everyday physical activities.|
|Bones, Muscles, and Joints Without bones, muscles, and joints, we couldn't stand, walk, run, or even sit. The musculoskeletal system supports our bodies, protects our organs from injury, and enables movement.|
|Ankle Sprains A sprained ankle is a very common injury that happens when the ligaments that support the ankle get overly stretched or torn. Find out how to avoid ankle sprains and what to do if you get one.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.