Trimalleolar Fractures

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Trimalleolar Fractures

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. The ankle is a complex structure that has many bones that work in unison for proper function. Injuries to this structure can range widely in severity, with a trimalleolar fracture being one of the most severe.

What is a Trimalleolar Fracture?

The ankle represents the union of multiple bones and is a point where the medial malleolus, lateral malleolus, and posterior malleolus come together. Some people call the posterior malleolus the back of the tibia. In a trimalleolar fracture, a traumatic injury of the ankle has occurred that causes a bone fracture in all three of these structures, thus the term trimalleolar fracture.

Mechanism of Injury

There are many different ways that someone can sustain a trimalleolar fracture. Most people suffer this severe type of injury in an auto accident or while playing sports. The foot is typically planted while the rest of the leg rotates, leading to the rotational, severe force that is required to break all three malleoli at once.

Treatment of a Trimalleolar Fracture

This is a severe ankle fracture that almost always requires plates and screws to ensure that the bones are in the proper location. Once the bones have been immobilized, the injured person should not put any weight on the affected leg until it has healed completely. This can take between six and twelve weeks depending on the patient’s overall health and the severity of the fracture.

Possible Complications

Because of the severity of the fracture, complications are not unusual. Sometimes, patients can re-break the ankle if they start bearing weight too soon. This can also lead to malunion. Patients are also at risk of developing an infection during the surgical repair of their ankle fracture.

Structures at Risk

A fracture of all three malleoli almost universally places the ligaments of the ankle and foot at risk. These are the ligaments that are damaged in an ankle sprain and are at risk of being ruptured whenever a patient suffers a trimalleolar fracture. These will be evaluated during the surgical repair of the various malleoli.

Differential Diagnosis

A trimalleolar fracture is a severe injury that has multiple other issues on the differential diagnosis. Some of the other options that physicians are likely to consider include:

Injury Prognosis

This is a severe injury that most people never fully recover from. Younger people generally have a better chance to make a full recovery than people of older age or with significant health problems, particularly related to ankle stability.

Surgery is Almost Universal

Almost every person will require surgery to place the bones in the proper location. The only people who avoid surgery are those deemed too sick for an operation. These individuals may never have their fractures heal fully.

Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call me for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

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Image Attribution: This image has been released into the public domain by its author. It was found originally on Wikimedia Commons.

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