JOURNAL ARTICLE

Classification of ankle fractures in children

V Vahvanen, K Aalto
Archives of Orthopaedic and Traumatic Surgery. Archiv Für Orthopädische und Unfall-Chirurgie 1980, 97 (1): 1-5
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The roentgenograms of 310 children treated for ankle fractures were evaluated for grouping according to the classifications of Ashhurst-Bromer-Weber, Lauge-Hansen, and Salter-Harris. The mean age of the children at the time of injury was 11.1 years (range 2-14 years). Two hundred twenty-one (71.3%) children had malleolar fractures, 71 (22.9%) had tibial epiphyseal fractures, and 18 (5.8%) had syndesmotic lesions. The age distribution of fractures was typical: malleolar fractures predominated among the younger children, epiphyseal fractures among the older. Only the oldest children had avulsion fractures of the syndesmosis. Grouping of the fractures according to Lauge-Hansen and Ashhurst-Bromer-Weber, classifications suited to adults was largely unsuccessful. Epiphyseal fractures, moreover, were easily classified according to Salter-Harris. In spite of their complexity, ankle fractures in children can be roughly divided into avulsional and epiphyseal fractures. Adequately reduced avulsional fractures can be expected to heal well; epiphyseal fractures, however, may five rise to late complications. We propose, therefore, that ankle fractures in children be classified on the basis of roentgenological findings with respect primarily to epiphyseal lesions as well as on an additional simple grouping as to risk for clinical purposes: Group I, low risk, avulsional fractures and epiphyseal separations; Group II, high risk, fractures through the epiphyseal plate.

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