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

March 5, 2018
The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

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.

View Dr. Clifford Jeng’s interview about treating ankle fractures.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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