Over an eight-year period up to 1983, a total of 322 consecutive patients had operations for ankle fractures; 176 were Weber type B and 128 type C. We were able to review 230 of these patients after a mean follow-up of six years (1 to 11) including 128 with Weber B and 102 with Weber C fractures.
We used an ankle score which combined symptoms and clinical and radiological findings, with a maximum score of 100 points. The mean score for all 230 was 92 (68 to 100). Fifteen of these patients had developed a distal synostosis between the tibia and fibula, three after a Weber B and 12 after a Weber C fracture. In 13 of these 15 ankles the synostosis had been visible radiologically within three months of the operation. In the other two there had been radiologically visible calcification at the three-month follow-up.
In 1993, we were able to review nine of the 15 patients with synostosis using the same scoring system. At a mean follow-up of 14 years (12 to 18) the mean score for those with synostosis was 91 (71 to 100), much the same as this group’s previous score and the mean score of the whole group of operated patients. We conclude that distal tibiofibular synostosis after ankle fracture usually causes few symptoms and does not generally require any treatment.
- Received June 2, 1995.
- Accepted August 29, 1995.
- © 1996 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery