Mercy's Dr. Clifford Jeng of The Institute for Foot & Ankle Reconstruction Discusses Ankle Fractures

March 05, 2018


Whether it's the result of a slip on the ice or some other type of fall, ankle fractures are no fun and need to be treated right away.

It's important to know what type of break it is in order to avoid complications later on.

Zena Fox is walking just fine now, but it was a different story six months ago when a hike in the woods went south.

"Walking in the woods, I was looking for the mushrooms when I slipped down the hill and broke my ankle," Fox said.

It turns out she broke her ankle in three different places.

According to Dr. Clifford Jeng,  Medical Director of The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center and an award-winning foot and ankle surgeon, this is the time of year when he sees a large number of weather-related ankle fractures.

Dr. Jeng noted that it is important to see an orthopedic surgeon who can determine whether the fracture is stable or unstable.

"In a stable fracture, the parts of the ankle haven't been broken so much that the ankle will result in arthritis without surgery. But an unstable one, either the bones are broken, or the ligaments have torn to a certain extent that now if you don't do surgery you'll develop arthritis," Dr. Jeng said.

In Fox's case, she needed surgery about a week after the swelling went down. It required a plate and screws to realign her bones. Jeng said pain decreases about three days post op, and most people have to keep weight off their ankle for over a month.

"For most common ankle fractures, it's six weeks of non-weight bearing. Usually, I like to get them in a boot as soon as possible so they can start doing range of motion exercises early, and then at six weeks, they can start doing physical therapy and bending and walking on the ankle," Dr. Jeng said.

As for Fox, she's almost ready to get back to hiking.

"Definitely ready to go back hiking, get good shoes and go hike with my kids," Fox said.

To view Dr. Clifford Jeng’s interview about treating ankle fractures, click here.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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