A Weber type C ankle fracture was sequentially reproduced in 12 cadaver lower extremities and an external rotation torque was applied at each interval. The fractures were then repaired in staged fashion and the rotational stability of the mortise evaluated. Maximum external rotation of the talus within the mortise averaged 7.7 degrees in the intact ankle and increased by 311% to 31.8 degrees after creation of a Weber C injury. Rigid fixation of the fibular fracture restored 32% of the rotational stability, whereas isolated fixation of the medial malleolus reconstituted 57%. Fibular fixation combined with a syndesmotic screw restored 51% of original stability, and the addition of medial malleolar fixation improved stability to 101%. Bimalleolar fixation without a syndesmotic screw yielded 73% of the original rotational stability. The results of this study suggest that when rigid medial and lateral osteosynthesis can be achieved, syndesmotic fixation may not be necessary.
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