Ankle fracture: is three weeks immobilisation enough?


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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The duration of immobilisation for stable Weber B-type fibula fracture can safely be shortened from six to three weeks, suggest findings from a new trial. 

The trial included 247 patients, aged at least 16 years, with an isolated Weber B-type fibular fracture. They were recruited from two major trauma centres in Finland between 2012 and 2015. The patients were randomly allocated to conventional six-week cast immobilisation (n=84) or three-week treatment either in a cast (n=83) or in a simple orthosis (n=80). Participants had follow-up appointments at 6, 12 and 52 weeks to measure ankle fracture symptoms using the Olerud-Molander Ankle Score (OMAS). 

At 52 weeks, the mean OMAS was 87.6 (standard deviation [SD] 18.3) in the six-week cast group, 91.7 (SD 12.9) in the three-week cast group and 89.8 (SD 18.4) in the three-week orthosis group. The researchers also noted a slight improvement in participants’ ankle mobility in the three-week orthosis group compared with the six-week group.

The authors concluded that immobilisation for three weeks with a cast or orthosis was non-inferior to conventional cast immobilisation for six weeks in the treatment of an isolated stable Weber B-type fracture. 

The findings are published in the BMJ