The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of complications after an ankle fracture in patients with and without diabetes and to evaluate risk factors for nonunion. We conducted a retrospective study of 439 patients with ankle fractures (31.7% had diabetes) and followed them for 1 year or until the fracture healed. The fracture severity and determination of nonunion and Charcot arthropathy were determined from independent evaluation of radiographs by 2 members of the research team. Nonunion was defined as a fracture that did not heal within 6 months of the fracture. The majority of patients were women (67% in each group). The risk of complications was significantly higher in patients with diabetes compared with those without diabetes. The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for nonunion was 6.5 (3.4 to 12.8); for Charcot arthropathy, 7.6 (2.3 to 21.0); for wounds, 1.8 (1.1 to 2.9); for infection, 2.8 (1.4 to 5.7); and for amputation, 6.6 (0.98 to 80.0). In the logistical regression analysis, 6 factors were associated with fracture nonunion: dialysis (7.7; 1.7 to 35.2), diabetes (3.3; 1.5 to 7.4), fracture severity (bi- and trimalleolar fractures) (4.9; 1.4 to 18.0), beta blockers (2.5; 1.1 to 5.4), steroids (3.1; 1.2 to 7.7), and infection (3.7; 1.2 to 11.3). The results of the study demonstrate the increased risk of complications after an ankle fracture among patients with diabetes, dialysis, or open fractures and those using steroids and beta blockers. Further work is needed to identify areas for risk reduction.
- ankle fracture
- retrospective cohort
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine