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Bimalleolar Fracture | Bimalleolar Fracture Treatment, Symptoms, Healing, Surgery and Diagnosis

4 Sep

There are many types of fracture and one of the areas that are commonly susceptible to this kind of condition is the ankle. Though most traumatic instances that affect the ankle region only resulted to ankle sprain, it would still be necessary to learn about the different forms of ankle fracture to better understand the condition and perform the things that are needed to easily recover from a suspected fracture injury.  It would be easier for us to differentiate these different kinds ankle fractures in the future.

One of known ankle fractures is what they clinically call as bimalleolar fracture. It is also known as Pott’s fracture though this term is loosely used to represent a certain form of bimalleolar fracture.  Aside from this, there are also conditions that are called as trimalleolar ankle fracture which is different from the earlier mentioned kind of ankle fracture. In addition, there is also a condition known as the tibial plafond fracture affects the ankle region.

As for this article, we will first learn about the bimalleolar bone fracture—its definition, causes, symptoms, treatments, recovery, and other vital information. Learning all these things would help us understand different broken ankle problems and would later help us in providing the right ankle fracture treatment when needed.

Understanding the Structure of the Ankle

There can be many forms of the ankle fracture. To be able to identify what a bimalleolar ankle fracture is and how is it differ from other forms of ankle fracture, it is best to understand the structure of the ankle region first. After this, we would be able to clearly define what bimalleolar fracture or Pott fracture is.

There are three important parts of the ankle: fibula (the bone outside the ankle), tibia (the inner bone), and talus (the foot bone). At the same time, there are certain parts in relation to the fibula and tibia regions. These are the medial malleolus which is inside tibia, posterior malleolus which is on the outside of tibia, and lateral malleolus which is in the end part of the fibula.

Defining Bimalleolar Fracture

Bimalleolar fracture definition can be done by saying that the fracture is the condition wherein an individual suffers from a crack or break of the medial malleolus of the distal tibia and the lateral malleolus of the fibula region.  This usually happens because of the impact between these two bones which are just along side each other.

As we take a picture of the ankle area, we would notice that both malleoli are near each other. This is the reason why bimalleolar fractures occur because the two malleoli are closed with each other than sudden and forceful impact on this area would greatly affect the condition and function of both parts.

How to differentiate an ankle fracture from an ankle sprain

Though both conditions can be painful and results to difficulty of movement of the ankle, the only thing that would differentiate an ankle bimalleolar fracture from an ordinary sprain is the cracking sound when the accident happens. At the same time, it is followed by swelling in the fractured bimalleolar bone. Other fracture symptoms of the ORIF bimalleolar fracture would be discussed below.

Causes of Bimalleolar Fracture

  • Twisting: This is the most common cause of bimalleolar fracture dislocation. This commonly happens when a sudden and irregular rotation of the ankle occurs. Because of this, both malleoli are affected which results to the crack or break in the bone.
  • Rolling: Though not as common as twisting the ankle, rolling is still another cause of ankle fracture. This is a kind of situation wherein there is an irregular placement of the foot that results to the rolling. Because of this, the malleoli are broken or cracked.
  • Tripping: This is when one suddenly misses a step and fall down. This is also one of the most common causes of bimalleolar fractures.
  • Sudden impact: Just like any other types of fracture, sudden and forceful impact is another cause of bimalleolar fracture. Vehicular accidents are the most common forms of sudden impact that results to any types of ankle fracture.
  • Weakening of the ligaments: Though not as common as the abovementioned causes, weakening of the ligaments can still be another reason. This usually happens to older people with weaker bones due to lesser deposit of calcium phosphate. The condition of the ligaments greatly affects the condition and function of the ankle which can really result to a displaced bimalleolar fracture when already weakening and deteriorating.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Pott’s fracture

Right after a certain incident (as described in the causes of this bone fracture above), an injured individual would immediately feel pain on the ankle region. After which, swelling of the broken bimalleolar bones would take place. The first aid treatment that one needs is to immobilize the part to avoid fracture complications.   When the fracture is severe, there would be bruising and deformity of the affected part as the other symptoms of the fracture. It would also be painful to touch the affected area and it would be difficult to move. Because of this, it is advisable to call the doctor immediately.

Unlike other forms of bone fracture, bimalleolar injury needs a certain rule to determine. Though it can still follow the usual procedure which includes going through an X-ray procedure, there is a certain rule that would best identify this form of fracture so that unnecessary X-rays would be avoided. This rule is what they call as Ottawa ankle rule.  Through this procedure, it would be easier for an attending doctor to suggest an X-ray or just diagnose an individual with an ankle sprain. Because of this, health risks that are due to X-rays can be avoided.

Treatment and Recovery

There can be two ways that a fractured person may undergo for a bimalleolar fracture treatment: nonsurgical and surgical procedures.  Through a nonsurgical procedure, one can treat ankle fracture through the natural course of one’s healing mechanism. This is done when there is just a crack on the ankle and the bones are not dislocated. In some cases, the doctor can immediately advise the patient to put weight on the affected area while in some instances the need for brace/braces would be needed. The fracture healing time when there is a cast on the ankle would usually take up to six weeks. This bimalleolar fracture healing time is just like the average recovery period for most types of fractures.

On the other hand, a bimalleolar fracture surgery would be taken when there is already a dislocation of the bones. This bimalleolar ankle fracture treatment is recommended for those that have a badly fractured ankle. This would involve the insertion of the screws and rods so that the dislocated bone would be realigned and would be returned to its original position. Bimalleolar fracture recovery for this kind may take some time. It would even need some exercises afterwards as bimalleolar fracture physical therapy.

Like any types of fracture, the recovery time for a fractured ankle would depend on the condition of the individual. Bimalleolar ankle fracture recovery is not really different with other classification of bone fracture. The kind of procedure used would also be considered in the healing time of the condition. Usually, those who undergo surgical procedures are the ones who have quick bimalleolar fracture recovery. But still, the natural process of the body to recover from the conditions cannot be ignored as well. As long as proper fracture cast is available and the right medicines are taken, it may also be easy and quick to recover from the condition.

These are just some of the basic concepts that we need to know about the right bimalleolar fracture. Now, it would be easier for us to identify a sprain from a fracture. It would also be easier for us now to different this kind of ankle fracture from trimalleolar fracture and plafond fracture.

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