Orthopaedics

Bimalleolar Ankle Fracture

The bimallolear ankle fracture is a fracture of the bones that exist on either side of the ankle. The ankle comprises of a bony prominence on its both sides. This is because of the presence of the medial malleolus and the lateral malleolus bones. Both these bones can get fractured on a few occasions, and hence the name, bimalleolar ankle fracture (bi meaning the two malleolus bones).

Causes of a Bimalleolar Ankle Fracture

The causes of this ankle fracture are usually high stress placed on both the sides of the ankle, weakening of the supportive ligaments of the ankle and a sudden impact. Let us look at these situations in brief.

Twisting

Twisting an ankle is usually not considered seriously by many. But, it can lead to some unwanted consequences. For instance, fracturing the lateral and the medial malleolus bones. When one twists an ankle, the awkward rotation can break the bones on either side of it.

  • Along with the two bones, there is also a possibility that the shin bone may also have some problems.
  • Another problem is that the ligaments within the ankle may also get torn.
Impact

A direct impact on either sides of the ankle can be the resultant of accidents or activities that can cause a trauma on both the sides at once. In car accidents, the ankle can get fractured at multiple places due to the impact velocity of the accident. This would lead to joint deformity and sever swelling of the ankle.

Rolling

An ankle might roll itself when the foot is landed improperly or incorrectly. This can happen while missing a step while descending stairs. When the ankle gets rolled, it can cause the bones on both the sides of the ankle to break because of the force created in the ankle by the motion.

Weakness

The fracturing of the bimalleolar due to weakness could happen due to tissue injuries. Damage to the tissues can also damage the ligaments and render the ankle weak and unstable there by, leaving it vulnerable to fractures.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are the signs and symptoms of a bimalleolar fracture-

  • ankle deformity
  • immediate swelling and inflammation
  • tenderness
  • popping sound
  • inability to bear weight

Treatment

In order to treat this fracture, a surgery (Open Reduction Internal Fixation) is required. The ankle would be realigned properly with the help of implants. The ankle can take up to one year to recover after a surgery.

These fractures can be prevented by wearing proper footwear and by performing a few strengthening exercises.

Bimalleolar ankle fracture is more common in women and in people who are in their sixties.

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