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Keywords:

  • Neglected ankle fractures;
  • ankle fracture dislocation;
  • open reduction and internal fixation;
  • delayed fixation

Summary

Neglected fracture dislocations of ankle are rare in western countries. Failure to achieve anatomic reduction is associated with a poor prognosis. We present a case of a patient with a neglected Weber B fracture of the fibula with postero-lateral subluxation of the ankle.  In theatre, the subluxation could not be reduced, and a posterior and lateral soft tissue release was performed. Granulation tissue was removed from the medial gutter. The fibular fracture was reduced and fixed with a six-hole dynamic compression plate. Post-operative radiographs was satisfactory and the patient was followed up for 12 months with full range of movement and function of the joint. In our case, correction was not obtained by osteotomy of the lateral malleolus alone, and medial and posterior soft tissue release was required. This was due to disruption of the deltoid ligament and posterior tibiofibular ligament and the associated scar tissue. Previous studies have shown that, if anatomic reduction is achieved, results with delayed surgery can be as good as those obtained with immediate surgery. Surgically correcting an old fracture dislocation is a difficult undertaking due to soft-tissue contractures and malunited fractures. It is important to preserve as much soft tissue attachments and periosteum to prevent avascular necrosis.