What is a trimalleolar fracture?
The ankle is the hinge-like joint that connects the foot to the leg. Three bones form the ankle: the tibia (shinbone), the fibula (lower leg bone), and the talus (ankle bone). A broken ankle usually involves an injury to the tibia or fibula. However, a trimalleolar fracture involves both bones.

In a trimalleolar fracture - also called a "cotton fracture" - there are breaks to the end of the fibula, end of medial tibia, and to the distal tibia. Because there are multiple bones involved, trimalleolar fractures are one of the most serious types of broken ankles.

How do trimalleolar fractures occur?
Trimalleolar fractures often occur when a driver or passenger braces for impact in a Missouri motor vehicle accident. They can also occur as the result of a Kansas City slip and fall accidents.

How are trimalleolar fractures treated?
Trimalleolar fractures often require surgery. Screws, metal plates, and pins are used to align and stabilize the ankle. Once the swelling from the surgery has gone down, the ankle will be immobilized in a non-weight bearing cast for six to eight weeks. Once the cast is removed, the leg will be weak and stiff. Physical therapy is necessary to increase strength and range of motion. Recovery can take several months and there may be permanent pain or stiffness in the ankle.

What are the possible complications of trimalleolar fractures?

  • Bone infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Arthritis


Compensation for trimalleolar fractures
Any broken ankle can force you to stay off your feet for weeks or months. During this time, you may be unable to work and enjoy your favorite activities. If your injury doesn't completely heal, the pain and stiffness may be disabling.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.