Phoenix Malleolar Fracture Lawyers
In the case of severe malleolar fractures, permanent damages are possible, changing the lives of the victims forever. These fractures can make it difficult to sit, stand, run, or walk without severe pain, and for some victims, the pain remains over time. Malleolar fractures may occur in any number of ways or any number of accidents. For most victims, there is often no way to completely avoid the accidents or injuries that lead to a malleolar fracture, since, in many cases, the accidents are caused by the negligence of another person. For victims who suffer from malleolar fracture injuries, their lives, work, and daily activities may be severely impacted over a long period of time, making it difficult to earn a living or live free from pain, frustration, and suffering. If you've suffered a fractured bone, contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. today.
Malleolar fractures are those fractures that involve the anklebones. Ankle fractures can occur in one or all three of the bones that connect to make up the ankle including the tibia, or shinbone; the fibula, the smallest bone in the lower leg; and the talus, the small bone that sits in the area between the tibia, the fibula and the calcaneus, or heel bone.
Ankle fractures can be simple or complex. Simple anklebone fractures may involve a small break in just one of the bones in the ankle. Complex anklebone fractures may involve more than one fracture in a single anklebone or fractures in multiple anklebones. The heel bone is also sometimes involved in malleolar fractures and causes severe pain and suffering for the victim over the long term, especially when other fractures to multiple areas of the ankle are involved. Malleolar fractures may involve small hairline fractures, compound fractures, or clean breaks of the bone. The severity of the break can complicate the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from the fracture.
Victims who sustain serious fracture injuries to their malleolus may also sustain significant damage to their ligaments, which can result in additional pain, suffering, and a longer healing and recovery time. Damage to the ligaments around the anklebones can cause significant problems because these ligaments are responsible for holding the anklebones in place and supporting the ability to walk.
Medial Malleolar Fractures
Medial malleolar fractures occur to the medial malleolus, which is located on the inside of the tibia where it connects at the ankle to the fibula, talus, and calcaneus.
Lateral Malleolar Fractures
Lateral malleolar fractures occur to the lateral malleolus, which is located on the end of the fibula where it connects at the ankle to the tibia, talus, and calcaneus.
Posterior Malleolar Fractures
Posterior malleolar fractures occur at the posterior malleolus, which is located at the back of the tibia where near the ankle where it connects to the fibula, talus, and calcaneus.
There are many different causes of malleolar fracture injuries, and victims may not always see it coming, or be able to do anything to protect themselves from the injuries they are about to sustain. Some of the most common causes of malleolar fractures include twisting or rotating the ankle, rolling the ankle over, tripping and falling, slipping and falling, and being crushed or otherwise impacted in a car accident. Some of the common accidents, other than car crashes, that can lead to malleolar fracture injuries include:
- Falling down stairs;
- Tripping while playing sports;
- A severe impact while playing sports, like having your ankle crushed or stepped on;
- Being knocked over in a dog attack;
- Slipping on ice or on a puddle of water on the floor; and
- Being hit by a car as a pedestrian or while riding a bicycle.
Symptoms of malleolar fractures include severe pain, the inability to walk, swelling around the site of the injury, and inflammation. Other symptoms of malleolar fracture injuries include visible bruising around the heel, bottom of the foot, and the ankle, and also visible deformities around the ankle and the top of the foot. Victims of injuries who exhibit these symptoms should see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment right away to avoid prolonged suffering and permanent damage.
The most common way for doctors to diagnose malleolar fracture injuries is with an x-ray of the ankle. X-rays are often paired with a medical history interview that helps the doctor determine where and when the pain originated from. This interview can help the doctor determine whether the injury is caused by torn ligaments, a twisted ankle, pulled muscles, or fractures in the bones at the ankle.
Treatment for malleolar fracture injuries depends on the severity of the damage and the extent of the fracture or multiple fractures. Conservative treatment for malleolar fractures typically includes setting the ankle and placing it in the cast. However, casting is reserved for those people whose fractures are non-displaced, or limited in severity.
Casting typically lasts four to six weeks or more depending on the severity of the fracture and the speed with which the victim heals. Victims who receive a cast may see healing and recovery times of up to eight weeks or more, which involve keeping the ankle elevated most of the day each day, keeping the weight off the ankle by walking with crutches, and taking pain and anti-inflammation medications to create a more comfortable recovery.
More serious breaks often require surgery, which leads to a longer recovery time. Some of the most common reasons doctors elect to do surgery in order to treat malleolar fractures include the victim suffering unstable fractures that could become worse even with a cast and lead to permanent or more serious injuries; subluxation of the talar; incongruity of the joints in the ankle; fractures that cause the step of the victim to be off by more than two millimeters; and, other serious disruptions of the ankle joint, anklebones, and the surrounding ligaments. In most cases, screws or pins are temporarily or permanently placed into the ankle joint or anklebones to stabilize the fracture and facilitate healing. Surgery does not preclude the same treatment that general fractures go through, however, and ankle surgery patients will be required to wear a cast or boot, and keep the weight off of their ankle to allow for healing.
Malleolar fractures can happen to anyone, though people who are extremely active, and the elderly are much more likely to suffer these injuries than others. This is because the extremely active put more pressure on their joints and are more often in situations where injuries can occur. The elderly have more brittle, aged bones than people who are younger, which makes them more susceptible to sustaining injuries after suffering an impact.
These fractures can inhibit the enjoyment of life over the short term by removing the victim’s ability to engage in activities that they once found enjoyable, like running, walking, hiking, playing basketball, or engaging in other sports.
Work may also be inhibited for those victims who rely on their ability to walk, climb stairs or ladders, or do other types of manual labor in order to make a living. Over the long term, pain and suffering can stick with the victims of malleolar fractures.
Additionally, arthritis that accompanies the break in any part of the malleolus can greatly reduce a victim’s ability to enjoy life or to perform major job functions. Other complications that come with malleolar fracture injuries can also impair quality of life, the ability to work and earn a living, and the overall mental and emotional status of the victim.
Malleolar fracture injuries don’t simply keep the victim from walking appropriately, working, or engaging in daily activities over a long period of time. There are often serious complications that can arise from malleolar fracture injuries. These complications include:
- Osteoarthritis caused by the stress and pain of the break over time.
- Compartment syndrome which causes pressure to build up around the injury caused by a lack of blood flow to the area of the injury.
- Ischemia, or burning pains in the foot, caused by nerve damage.
- Infection caused by bacteria entering the wound, especially in the cases where the fracture breaks the skin, or where bacteria is introduced during surgery.
- For children or young people who are still growing, the disruption of the growth plate can cause deformities over time and inhibit the regular development of the body.
- Inability of the wound to heal, or non-union of the wound over time.
- Deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots.
- Reduced range of movement, either temporarily or permanently, that can make it difficult or impossible to participate in activities or work tasks that require full movement of the ankle and foot.
Any of these complications can significantly lengthen the recovery time for victims and can cause permanent damage and additional injuries that add to the pain and suffering felt by victims.
Prevention of malleolar fracture injuries can be incredibly difficult for the victims since it can be difficult to guess when accidents might be coming. However, there are some ways that you can protect yourself every day to help decrease your chances of finding yourself in a situation where an accident can happen. Some of the best ways that you can protect yourself include:
- Watch where you are walking, no matter where you go, so you can watch out for liquid spills, broken flooring, unstuck rugs, debris, boxes, packaging, electrical wires and power cords, and more.
- When you are out driving, pay attention to the road and the other drivers around you, in case they make a negligent or illegal move; never put your feet up on the dash; wear safety devices as required by law; and, always be ready to take evasive action to protect yourself and your passengers.
- When you are walking or riding a bicycle down the road, always double check before crossing the road, even when you have the right of way, in case the driver of an automobile does something negligent. For bicyclists, it is important to watch the traffic around you at all times to ensure that you are not struck broadside by a driver turning right.
- When playing sports, always use the specified safety equipment for the sport you are playing, and follow the rules of common sense and safety.
- If you feel that you have suffered an injury to your malleoli, get to the doctor right away and do not wait for treatment since this could lead to more significant injuries, permanent injuries, and permanent damages that cannot be repaired through casting, single surgeries or even multiple surgeries.
If you suffered a malleolar fracture injury due to the negligent actions of another person, you’re likely going to need financial and other assistance to make it through your recovery and to afford the medical care you may require to regain full or even partial use of your anklebone. The Phoenix fracture attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. help injury victims get the assistance they need to make it through recovery and get the best medical care possible. Call (602) 267-1280 for assistance from The Husband and Wife Law Team.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer