Introduction: Articular tibial ankle injuries may occur in association with distal tibial fractures, especially in those characterized by spiral or oblique shape. These lesions are often misdiagnosed and overlooked with significant biomechanical and clinical consequences. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of patients affected by posterior and medial malleolar ankle fractures associated with distal tibial fracture who underwent intramedullary nailing at a follow-up of 3 years. Furthermore authors wanted to highlight the correct sequence of diagnosis and fixation in these associated fracture patterns. Materials and methods: All treated patients between 2006 and 2016 (Group 1) were compared with a control group (Group 2) without ankle lesions. Demographic variables and data related to surgical procedure and hospitalization were documented and analyzed. X-rays and computed tomography before operation were reviewed to identify type of fracture; radiographs after surgery and at follow-up were respectively analyzed to study the quality of joint reduction and the development of osteoarthritis. Clinical outcomes were evaluated using OMAS and DRI scores. Results: Thirty-six patients were in group 1 and 36 in group 2. In group 1 longer operating time and hospitalization were documented. Quality of reduction in group 1 was always satisfactory. No signs of osteoartritis were detected at 3 years follow-up. The mean union time was 23.6 weeks for group 1 and 20,4 for group 2 (p=0.111). No differences in clinical scores were documented after 6 months. The full weight-bearing time was longer in group 1 (p=0.017). Conclusions: Clinical results appeared similar. No osteoarthritis was documented in group 1 as consequence of good articular reduction that is better and more easily executable if malleolar ankle fractures are fixed before intramedullary nailing. In distal tibial fractures CT has always to be performed to recognize associated ankle lesions as it may modify the surgical plan, postoperative management and outcomes.
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