The outer ankle fracture is a fracture of the fibula on the lower leg. It is one of the so-called ankle fractures and is the most common adult bone fracture in the leg area. The ankle joint of the foot is a connecting joint between the lower leg and the foot.
The inner ankle is formed by the shin bone, which runs from the knee inside to the foot. The fibula is the thinner of the two bones of the lower leg, which is why there are more frequent fractures of the outer malleolus in the area of the foot. The entire ankle joint is connected by an anterior and posterior ligamentous apparatus, which gives it stability and mobility. In the case of an external ankle fracture, the bone of the fibula is released from its normal connection in the area of the foot by sliding away. This often results in a breakage of the lower tip of this bone with an accompanying injury to the ligaments surrounding the fibula.
The typical mechanism of an external ankle fracture is the twisting of the foot. The outer ankle fracture is a common sports injury in footballers who are at increased risk of twisting due to their short sprints with stopping movements. Other triggers can be uneven or slippery floors or obstacles such as stairs or curbs. However, an ankle fracture can also be caused by traffic accidents or heavy alcoholisation with loss of control in the movement sequences, whereby the fixation of the foot with simultaneous rotation of the lower leg plays a decisive role.
An external ankle fracture results in a strong, stabbing pain in the area of the external ankle. The pain is intensified by movement as well as stress and is greatest in the morning and evening. Affected persons tend to limp with the injured foot. The pain of an outer ankle fracture is often accompanied by bruising and swelling in the area of the foot. Further information on the topic: What are the symptoms of an external ankle fracture?
The diagnosis of an external ankle fracture is made by the doctor by questioning the patient about the course of the accident, clinically by examining the foot and by taking x-rays from two different perspectives. They provide a rough overview of the extent of the external ankle fracture. Further imaging procedures, such as computer tomography, are carried out to determine the exact extent of accompanying ligament or tissue injuries.
The imaging also serves to classify the severity of the external ankle fracture, which in turn determines the therapy. Ankle fractures are classified according to the so-called Weber classification, which takes into account the severity of the fracture and the ligament injuries involved. – Type Weber A: the fracture of the fibula is located below the ligamentous apparatus.
The ligaments are therefore intact. – Type Weber B: the fracture point is at the level of the ligament. The ligament can be intact or injured. – Type Weber C: the point of fracture lies above the ligaments and is always accompanied by an injury to the ligament.