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Acute Traumatic Open Posterolateral Dislocation of the Ankle Without Tearing of the Tibiofibular Syndesmosis Ligaments

A Case Report

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  • 1 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey.
  • | 2 Orthopedics and Traumatology, Turkish Armed Forces Rehabilitation and Care Center, Ankara, Turkey.
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Pure open dislocation of the ankle, or dislocation not accompanied by rupture of the tibiofibular syndesmosis ligaments or fractures of the malleoli or of the posterior border of the tibia, is an extremely rare injury. A 62-year-old man injured his right ankle in a motor vehicle accident. Besides posterolateral ankle dislocation, there was a 7-cm transverse skin cut on the medial malleolus, and the distal end of the tibia was exposed. After reduction, we made a 2- to 2.5-cm longitudinal incision on the lateral malleolus; the distal fibular fracture was exposed. Two Kirschner wires were placed intramedullary in a retrograde manner, and the fracture was stabilized. The deltoid ligament and the medial capsule were repaired. The tibiofibular syndesmosis ligaments were intact. At the end of postoperative year 1, right ankle joint range of motion had a limit of approximately 5° in dorsiflexion, 10° in plantarflexion, 5° in inversion, and 0° in eversion. The joint appeared normal on radiographs, with no signs of osteoarthritis or calcification. The best result can be obtained with early reduction, debridement, medial capsule and deltoid ligament restoration, and early rehabilitation. Clinical and radiographic features at long-term follow-up also confirm good mobility of the ankle without degenerative change or mechanical instability. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(6): 469–472, 2008)

Corresponding author: Bahtiyar Demiralp, MD, GATA Ortopedi ve Travmatoloji AD, 06018 Etlik, Ankara, Turkey. (E-mail: bahtidemiralp@yahoo.com)