, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 165-168

Conservative functional treatment of ankle fractures

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Thirty-eight patients (mean age 49 years; range 19–91 years; nine of them over 60 years; 28 women, 10 men) suffering from an isolated Weber B fracture with a dislocation of less than 1 mm underwent functional therapy using a pneumatic ankle brace and were included in a prospective study. The clinical outcome was measured according to the Olerud-Molander ankle score. Functional therapy was finished in 34 cases successfully. Twenty-one patients were scored after 17 months on average (range 8–27 months) with the Olerud-Molander ankle score. A very good result was seen in 18 patients, including 12 with 100 points, a complete remission. The remaining 3 patients showed good results (1 had 90, 2 had 85). However, functional treatment failed in 4 cases due to secondary dislocation. These patients underwent surgery without further complications. The control group, 31 operated patients, did not show as good results. Functional therapy of stable Weber-B ankle fractures appears to be superior to surgery. We were able to avoid surgery in 90% of our patients and got better results than with patients undergoing open reduction and internal fixation.

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