New technology makes ankle fractures easier to repair

Ankle fractures are usually caused by an ankle sprain and are one of the most common injuries. Now, new technology enables patients to get up and move faster.

CHICAGO – The average American walks 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day and 115,000 miles in a lifetime—more than four times the circumference of the Earth! No wonder ankle fractures, usually caused by a sprained ankle, are one of the most common injuries. Now, new technology enables patients to get up and move faster than ever before.

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to feel pain from an ankle injury that persists on landing to a game-stopped ankle fracture.

“The most common injury is a sprain,” says plastic surgeon David Garras, MD.

And those sprains can eventually lead to broken ankles.

“Traditionally, what we usually do is make an incision in the broken bone,” explained Dr. Garras. “We put a plate on top of it, the screw goes in, and the plate is on the outside of the bone, really directly under the skin.”

At some point, the plate and screws must be removed. Now, Dr. Garras is using a new technology called the FibuLock fibula nail to repair fractures.

Dr. Garras further explained, “What the new technology allows us to do now is develop implants specifically for these types of ankle fractures, which are fixed both above and below the fracture.”

This technique uses several small incisions to place the rod inside the fibula rather than outside. Patients can walk on their ankles immediately and return to normal activities within two weeks. There is also less risk of shrinkage, frailty, hardware problems, and infection.

PhD. Garras believes that the FibuLock Nail procedure will save healthcare costs in the long run, as nails will rarely need to be removed, so patients can avoid a second procedure and an increased risk of infection.

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