Orthopedic Trauma Directions 2005; 3(6): 9-17
DOI: 10.1055/s-2005-919133
Clinical topic
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Ankle fractures

Nonoperative versus operative treatment in the elderly
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
02 January 2006 (online)


Only two reports have prospectively examined outcome in the treatment of ankle fractures among elderly patients, and the criteria for treatment were different between the studies. With respect to individual outcome parameters, one study reported no difference in pain scores between nonoperative versus operative treatment, but better scores for swelling and activities such as running, jumping, and taking stairs among patients treated operatively. Another study, which used a different scoring tool for clinical assessment, reported better function and pain scores among patients treated nonoperatively. Patients treated operatively tended to have longer hospital stays in both studies. Complications varied between studies, in part due to a lack of consistency in defining a complication. There is some evidence to suggest that among patients whose fractures are successfully reduced initially by closed reduction, a relatively large proportion will lose reduction and go on to malunion or nonunion if treated nonoperatively. Further research is required to verify this finding.

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