When it comes to bone fracture, one of the areas that are susceptible to this condition is the ankle region. In fact, there are different types of ankle fracture. One of the most common types is what they call as the bimalleoral fracture. At the same time, there is also one that is called the tibial plafond fracture. In this article, we will talk about the trimalleolar fracture and would try to compare this form of ankle fracture with other known forms of ankle fracture injury.
In addition, we will also discuss the different details and information that is crucial in better understanding what is trimalleolar fracture. Information such as its causes, symptoms, and treatments would also be discussed in this article.
Understanding the anatomy of the ankle region
There are three main parts in the ankle region: talus (or the foot bone), tibia (or the shin bone), the fibula (or the bone that is located outside the ankle). With these parts, there are still other important structures in this area. These structures are the medial malleolus, lateral malleolus, and the posterior malleolus. Though there are three malleoli that are discussed, only the medial and lateral malleoli are considered as malleolus. When these bones crash it is when trimalleolar ankle fracture occurs.
Definition of trimalleolar fracture
As its name goes, this type of bone fracture is a condition wherein the three malleoli crashed with each other and caused the crack or break. However, as already mentioned, there are only two considered malleoli and these are the medial and lateral malleoli. However, when the crash between the two already affects the posterior process in the tibial area, then this is already called as the ankle trimalleolar fracture. The term is just loosely called as such to encompass the three structures that are affected in the sudden impact which resulted to a fractured ankle.
This would clearly give us an idea that a trimalleolar fracture is different with the bimalleolar ankle fracture in the sense that it already affected three structures in the ankle region whereas the bimalleolar type of fracture only affects the medial and lateral malleoli. Aside from this, we cannot identify other differences that might distinguish the former type of ankle fracture from the latter.
In addition, a trimalleolar bone fracture is considered to be more of a stress fracture rather than a burst fracture. This means that when too much weight or pressure is put on the ankle, it would result to the fracture which is called as the ankle trimalleolar fracture.
Causes of trimalleolar fracture
Just like the causes of a bimalleolar fracture, the following instances are also the causes of a tri malleolar fracture:
- Twisting: Among all the causes of ankle fractures, twisting is the most common reason. This is due to the abnormal and irregular rotation of the ankle.
- Rolling: The sudden change in movement or irregular foot placement is what causes a person to roll. This instance is the next most common reason for having ankle fractures.
- Falling or tripping: This is an instance wherein one missed a step which made him fall or trip. The ankle would be greatly affected by this since it is the area that would receive the weight of the body once this instance occurs.
- Sudden and forceful impact: The most common picture for this cause is vehicular accidents.
- Weakened ligaments: Commonly affected are older people where their ligaments are too weak to support the weight of the body. This condition highly affects the function and condition of the different parts of the ankle which would later result to a trimalleolar injury. Older people with diseases such as osteoporosis or some types of cancer are prone to trimalleolar fractures too.
Symptoms of a trimalleolar fracture
- Pain (which is just similar with other types of fracture of ankle)
- Difficulty to move the injured part
- Insensitive of the affected part to touch
- Deformity (on its severe condition)
These fracture symptoms are true for other forms of fracture even if it is not on the ankle region. Thus, when these symptoms are already felt, it is suggested to immediately call the doctor to avoid any fracture complications that would just worsen the condition of the injured area or the person itself. But still, it is recommended to take the first precautionary procedures to avoid furthering the break or crack of the bones.
Just like any forms of fracture, the best way to identify if a person is suffering from this form of bone fracture is through an X-ray procedure. However, before this can be done, it would be advisable to follow the Ottawa ankle rules to identify if a person is suffering from a fracture ankle and not just an ordinary pain. When this is done, the injured individual does not need to undergo unnecessary X-rays that might just result to health hazards. In some cases, a CT scan is also more preferred to really identify the real condition of the fracture and be able to perform the right ankle fracture treatment.
Going through all these processes are vital in coming up with the right kind of procedure on how to heal the fracture. These should even be done immediately when the person suspects a fractured ankle so that there would be no room for complications and other unwanted incidents caused by this condition. The longer you delay the treatment the longer the trimalleolar fracture recovery time will be.
Basically, there are things that a person should do first before consulting the doctor. First aid procedures such as the use of improvised immobilization devices are needed to ensure that the broken trimalleolar bones will not be moved before the doctor will see the injury. There might even be a need to take some pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medicines to avoid great pain and swelling of the affected area. There are already some trimalleolar fracture emedicine available through the Web when one needs so. After this, the patient should immediately be sent to the hospital to be observed by the doctor.
There can be two forms of trimalleoral fracture treatment that an individual can go through: nonsurgical and surgical procedures. Through the nonsurgical procedure, the patient may be advised by the doctor to immediately put weight on the affected area on given period of time. This is done when the ankle is stable and there is no trimalleolar ankle fracture dislocation. It may also include the use of brace/braces. The recovery time for this kind of treatment would last for as long as six weeks.
On the other hand, when the condition is too severe the need for a trimalleolar fracture surgery would already be needed. This is especially needed when there is already a trimalleolar fracture dislocation or that bones are completed broken that normal processes of the body cannot handle the treatment on its own. In this case, the fractured trimalleolar bone would go through a certain surgical procedure wherein screws and rods be placed on the ankle to replace the broken parts temporarily and realign the broken parts. There would even be a need for a fracture cast to ensure the alignment of the broken parts. After the trimalleolar fracture recovery period, there would also be a need for a trimalleolar fracture physical therapy to bring back the natural functions of the ankle. This would include some exercises and other rehabilitation procedures so that the patient would really achieve a full trimalleolar fracture recovery. This is especially true when the condition is too severe and complicated.
There is really no definite procedure on how to treat ankle fracture quick because this would greatly depend on a person’s own fracture healing time. Still, it is great that we learn a lot about trimalleolar fractures. Now that we already know the basic details about this form of fracture, it would already be easy for us to compare it with other forms such as the plafond fracture and other types that are affecting that ankle region.