The treatment of displaced fractures at the ankle by rigid internal fixation and early joint movement.

  • Burwell H
  • Charnley A
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1. This paper presents a series of 135 patients with displaced ankle fractures treated by rigid internal fixation followed by early joint exercises in bed until movements were restored and followed then by full weight bearing in a plaster.2. The advantages obtained are as follows: A high standard of reduction can be achieved and maintained. The joint movements are established before organisation of the traumatic exudate. Weight bearing in a plaster reduces the degree of disability and prevents osteoporosis. Further remedial treatment after removal of the plaster is usually unnecessary.3. All but five of the fractures (3middle dot7 per cent) could be classified in the manner described by Lauge-Hansen.4. This classification is the most satisfactory of those available and is recommended for general use.5. Anatomical reduction was obtained in 102 patients (77 per cent), with good objective clinical results in 108 patients (82 per cent).6. The quality of the clinical result depends mostly on the accuracy of the reduction, to a lesser extent on the degree of initial displacement, and least on the type of fracture.7. It is considered that the traditional concept of diastasis requires modification; it is felt that the term lateral ankle instability, which includes low fracture of the fibula (intraosseous diastasis) is preferable.8. Internal fixation of the syndesmosis is to be avoided except in rare instances.9. The incidence of arthritis is shown to depend mostly upon the accuracy of reduction; the initial degree of displacement is also of importance.

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  • PMID: 5846764
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-0013817032
  • SGR: 0013817032
  • PUI: 86003905
  • ISSN: 0301-620X


  • H N Burwell

  • A D Charnley

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