BACKGROUND:
Ankle fractures form a high proportion of the total number of fractures treated in New Zealand. International studies show that there are mixed functional outcomes with differing fracture types and subsequently differing lifestyle outcomes.

METHODS:
Fracture clinic records and orthopaedic admissions books for Wellington Public Hospital, Capital Coast Health, -Wellington, were retrospectively reviewed to gain a population of patients who sustained ankle fractures for the period January--December 1998. These patients were asked to fill in postal questionnaires detailing their current ankle function and lifestyle, two years after fracturing their ankle. The patients' radiographs were reviewed to classify the types of ankle fractures sustained.

RESULTS:
Of 141 patients that sustained ankle fractures, 74 were followed up 2 years after their ankle fracture. All fracture types averaged Olerud-Molander ankle scores of 71.1. Weber A fractures averaged ankle function scores of 90, Weber B fractures 80, and Weber C fractures 78. Four patients (5%) achieved 'poor' results, 12 (16%) patients achieved a 'fair' result, 30 (41%) patients gained a 'good' result, 27 (36%) patients attained 'excellent' results. Lifestyle outcomes were reflected in the patient's ankle function outcomes (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION:
Patients who sustain ankle fractures can be expected to be still experiencing functional difficulties two years post-treatment.





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