Long-term outcome after 1822 operatively treated ankle fractures: A systematic review of the literature

Sjoerd A.S. Stufkens, Michel P.J. Van Den Bekerom, Gino M.M.J. Kerkhoffs, Beat Hintermann, C. Niek Van Dijk

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this literature review is to systematically gather the highest level of available evidence on the long-term outcome after operatively treated ankle fractures in the English, German and Dutch literature. A search term with Boolean operators was constructed. The search was limited to humans and adults and the major databases were searched from 1966 to 2008 to identify studies relating to functional outcome, subjective outcome and radiographic evaluation at least 4 years after an operatively treated ankle fracture. Of the 42 initially relevant papers, 18 met our inclusion criteria. A total of 1822 fractures were identified. The mean sample-size weighted follow-up was 5.1 years. The initial number of patients that were included in the studies was 2724, which results in a long-term follow-up success rate of 66.9%. Regarding the fracture reduction we found 4 papers reporting on 106 fractures. Of the fractures that were classified according to Danis-Weber, 736 were eligible for correlation with the long-term outcome. In 442 fractures a comparison was possible between supination-external rotation stage 2 and 4 of the Lauge-Hansen classification. Only one study reported on the influence of initial cartilage lesions on the outcome. Regarding the involvement of the posterior malleolus, two studies reported on the long-term outcome. None of the studies addressed the influence of hindfoot varus or valgus on the long-term outcome after ankle fracture. Only 79.3% of the optimally reduced fractures show good to excellent long-term outcome. The Weber A type fractures do not show a better long-term outcome than Weber B type fractures. Recommendations for future research were formulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Ankle fracture
  • Long-term outcome
  • Posttraumatic osteoarthritis
  • Prognostic factors
  • Systematic review


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