Obese patients experience more severe ankle fractures than those with a healthy body mass index, BMI.
The findings, published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, show that patients with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or above were almost twice as likely to have a Weber C fracture than type A or B fractures.
Christy King, of the Kaiser San Francisco Bay Area Foot and Ankle Residency Program, Oakland, CA, says that patients with Weber C fractures routinely have surgery.
On the other hand, Weber A fractures require surgery if there is medial injury, and type B fractures are operated on if there are also complex bimalleolar, trimalleolar, and bimalleolar equivalent fractures.
Researchers reviewed radiographs from 280 patients, 180 female, average age of 52, with ankle fractures. Information of the patient's Weber classification, BMI, gender, age, diabetes, tobacco use, and osteoporosis, were considered.
Half of the patients, 51.4%, had a BMI of 30 kg/m2, and the ankle fractures were broken down thus: 21% of total patients had Weber A fractures, 59% had type B, and 20% had type C fractures. However, obese patients accounted for the majority of fractures: 46% of type A, 50% of type B, and 61% of type C.
The likelihood of Weber C fractures was not influenced by osteoporosis, tobacco use, or bone mineral density.
Previous research indicated that overweight and obese patients typically have a longer recovery than those with a healthy weight. King et al said in their report, "It is important to recognize the potential risks of obesity, including the possibility of a more severe ankle fracture, to help manage the injury in all phases of treatment."
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