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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 82-B, Issue 3 | Pages 345 - 351
1 Apr 2000
Hintermann B Regazzoni P Lampert C Stutz G G├Ąchter A

We have evaluated prospectively the arthroscopic findings in acute fractures of the ankle in 288 consecutive patients (148 men and 140 women) with a mean age of 45.6 years. According to the AO-Danis-Weber classification there were 14 type-A fractures, 198 type B and 76 type C.

Lesions of the cartilage were found in 228 ankles (79.2%), more often on the talus (69.4%) than on the distal tibia (45.8%), the fibula (45.1%), or the medial malleolus (41.3%). There were more lesions in men than in women and in general they were more severe in men (p < 0.05). They also tended to be worse in patients under 30 years and in those over 60 years of age. The frequency and severity of the lesions increased from type-B to type-C fractures (p < 0.05). Within each type of fracture the lesions increased from subgroups 1 to 3 (p < 0.05). The anterior tibiofibular ligament was injured with increased frequency from type-B.1 to type-C.3 fractures (p < 0.05), but it was not torn in all cases. While lateral ligamentous injuries were seen more often in type-B than in type-C fractures (p < 0.05), no difference was noted in the frequency of deltoid ligamentous lesions.

Our findings show that arthroscopy is useful in identifying associated intra-articular lesions in acute fractures of the ankle.