Tibia & Fibula Splints: Posterior Ankle & Bulky Jones

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Injuries to the ankle or foot can happen for doing something as simple as tripping while walking. Check out this lesson to educate yourself on two types of splints for injuries to the foot and ankle: posterior ankle and bulky Jones splints.

Be Careful Where You Are Going!

Kim is a 20-year-old college student who plays on an intramural soccer team. During a recent game, Kim was dribbling the soccer ball down the field when she accidentally stepped into a small hole and twisted her right ankle. Kim immediately fell to the ground and grabbed her ankle in pain. Within only a few minutes, the ankle had swelled to over two times its normal size.

A couple of Kim's teammates helped her off the field and into one of their cars, then drove her to the hospital. At the hospital, doctors looked at several x-rays of Kim's ankle. One of the doctors informed Kim that she had not broken any bones, but her ankle was severely sprained. Then the doctor put a splint on the back of Kim's foot, ankle, and lower leg and told her come back to see him in 5-7 days.

Kim is a perfect example of how injuries to the foot and ankle can happen to anyone. You can sprain your ankle by simply tripping on something while you walk. This lesson will discuss two specific types of splints used to treat various foot, ankle, and lower leg injuries: posterior ankle splints and bulky Jones splints.

Posterior Ankle Splints

As the name implies, posterior ankle splints are applied to the back (posterior) of the ankle. Specifically, this splint extends from the base of the toes all the way to about two inches below the top of the fibula (bone on the pinky toe side of the lower leg). When this splint is applied to the lower leg, the ankle should be bent at a 90 degree angle. The types of injures a posterior ankle splint is used for include:

  • Severe ankle sprains (like Kim)
  • Fractures to the malleolus (the round bones that stick out from both sides of the ankle)
  • Fractures to the bones in the foot

This is a type of posterior ankle splint, which is applied to the back of the lower leg.
posterior ankle splint

Bulky Jones Splints

A bulky Jones splint is a specific type of stirrup splint. A stirrup splint is a U-shaped splint that fits under the heel and forms onto each side of the lower leg. With a bulky Jones splint, the lower leg (foot, ankle, and shin) is wrapped with cotton padding before the stirrup splint is applied. This cotton padding provides compression to the injury and allows room for additional swelling. Just like the posterior ankle splint, the ankle should be bent at a 90 degree angle when applying the bulky Jones splint.

This type of splint is commonly used for more severe cases of the following injuries:

  • Fractures to the malleolus
  • Ankle sprains

The bulky Jones splint is a specific type of stirrup splint. The main difference is that the lower leg is first wrapped in cotton padding for a bulky Jones splint.
stirrup splint

It should be noted that both the posterior ankle splint and bulky Jones splint are most commonly used in the first few days following an injury. Unlike complete casts that surround the entire lower leg, these splints allow room for swelling, which is very important during the first few days following an injury. After wearing these splints for the first few days, a person will often need to be re-evaluated by a physician to determine the long-term care for an injury (which may include surgery, wearing a cast, or continuing to wear the splint).

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