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ORIF (Open Reduction and Internal Fixation) is a treatment to fix a broken bone so that it can be welded together. The ankle joint works like a hinge allowing the foot to go up and down, if the ankle breaks, you have to operate to get back to stability and you can walk. When the ankle breaks at first will be very swollen so we will have to wait for the swelling to go down, this can take a week, it is important to keep the foot high as long as you can for the swelling to go down.

How will the ORIF Ankle operation be performed?

You will need to have an ORIF procedure if:

  • Your leg bones have lost alignment
  • One or more bones pass through the skin
  • His bones broke in several parts.
  • His ankle is unstable.

The surgeon will make an incision on the outside or inside of the ankle to align the parts of the ankle bones, to align the bones will be helped by x-rays. To hold these parts the surgeon will use screws or metal plates. At the end of the operation, the incision will be closed with stitches that must be removed in the next 7 to 10 days, the patient will have his leg plastered for a period of 6 weeks. During these 6 weeks it is important to keep the leg high to avoid swelling and also to reduce pain.

Postoperative ankle operation ORIF

The physiotherapists will help the patient to walk with crutches, by removing the plaster from the ankle they will also send you some exercises that you can do at home.

Operation risk

As with all procedures, this carries some risks and complications.


  • Pain: After the operation, your ankle may still hurt, so it is important to keep it up.
  • Numbness: When touching the nerves in the ankle, the skin of the ankle may be temporarily or permanently numb.
  • Stiffness: In the operation the cartilages may be affected with which you may notice that it becomes stiff, in this case may need to be operated again.

Less Common

  • Repeat surgery: This option may be given due to swelling at the time the initial operation is too large to proceed with surgery.
  • Remove the metal fasteners: If the metal fasteners (screws, bolts, metal plate, etc.) damage the skin or become infected, they can be removed for greater comfort and mobility.


  • Infection: There may be redness in the area where the operation was performed after the operation, or there may be an area with discharge. It may be necessary to take antibiotics to treat these infections.
  • Bleeding: inevitably there will be some bleeding during the operation, as a general rule is usually minimal.
  • Abnormal healing of wounds: The scar may become red, thick and painful, this type of abnormal scarring is more common in Afro-Caribbean people.
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