Fractures of the Ankle & Lower Leg
Fractures are breaks or cracks in the bone. Acute ankle fractures typically occur during a trauma, such as an accident or a twist. Stress fractures occur after overuse, when light or moderate force is repeatedly put on the bone. This can cause a fine crack in the bone.
Some ankle fractures heal easily in a cast or functional brace, while others require surgery. Regardless of the treatment, most bone fractures heal in six to 12 weeks.
During surgery the broken bones are repositioned and held in place by metal pins or screws. This is called open reduction and internal fixation.
Nonunions & Malunions: When a fracture does not heal in six to 12 weeks, it’s called a delayed union or nonunion. More time in a cast sometimes helps the bone finally mend, but typically surgery is required. This surgery often involves grafting bone onto the ankle and revising the original fixation with screws or pins. It may also require re-breaking the bone to correct the alignment so the ankle can heal properly.
Tibia Misalignment: Of all the long bones in the body, the tibia - your shinbone - is fractured most often. If it does not heal property, the shinbone can become misaligned.
To fix this problem, we use the Ilizarov technique to lengthen shortened bones, correct bone misalignment, and fill in areas of traumatic bone loss. Small pins and wires are put through the bone and attached to circular rings outside the leg. These rings are gradually moved farther apart, then held in place until bone has grown to fill in the gaps. The technique is often used with Taylor Spatial Frames to increase versatility and precision.