May also be called: Pott's Fracture
A bimalleolar (bi-MAL-ee-uh-lur) fracture is a type of broken ankle that happens when parts of both the tibia and fibula called the malleoli are fractured.
The bony knobs on the inside and outside of the ankle are called the malleoli, which is the plural form of malleolus. The knob on the inside, the medial malleolus, is part of the tibia, or shinbone. The knob on the outside, the lateral malleolus, is part of the fibula, the smaller bone in the lower leg.
The prefix "bi" means "two," so a bimalleolar fracture is one that involves both the medial malleolus and the lateral malleolus. This type of fracture often happens as a result of the foot and ankle rolling inward, but it can also be caused by a trip or fall, or by a direct blow to the ankle.
Bimalleolar fractures can cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising in the injured ankle. They also can be tender to the touch and make walking or putting any weight on the affected foot very difficult and painful.
Bimalleolar fractures make the ankle unstable and typically require surgery to implant metal plates, screws, and rods to keep the bones aligned. Following surgery, the ankle is usually put in a short leg cast. In general, it takes at least 6 weeks for the broken malleoli to heal.
A bimalleolar fracture usually requires someone to keep weight off the affected foot for a few weeks, but in most cases, people return to normal daily activities within 3 to 4 months. Stretching and strengthening exercises supervised by a doctor or physical therapist can help improve ankle function and mobility during the healing process.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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