Maisonneuve Fracture: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery Period

What is Maisonneuve Fracture?

Maisonneuve Fracture is a severe ankle injury which arises due to a spiral fracture of the proximal third of the fibula along with a tear of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis and interosseous membrane. This type of fracture normally affects sportsmen and athletes and is caused due to a fall with the ankle in an awkward position.

Athletes more prone to Maisonneuve Fracture are sportsmen involved with football, rugby, hockey and other contact sports where during a scramble for the ball they may tumble upon each other and fall with their ankles in awkward positions resulting in a Maisonneuve Fracture.

A slip and fall on a wet floor or uneven surfaces may also result in a Maisonneuve Fracture as it may also twist the ankle awkwardly. This is especially true for those females who wear high heels. People with gait abnormalities or elderly people who have weak legs may also end up having Maisonneuve Fracture.

What is Maisonneuve Fracture?

What are the Causes of Maisonneuve Fracture?

The main cause as stated above for Maisonneuve Fracture is the foot landing in the wrong way such that the leg moves around in such a fashion that it wraps around the foot twisting the ankle forcefully. This causes a strain of the ankle and a crack of the fibula bone. In some cases the tibia which is located much lower than the fibula also gets fractured. This is true when the fall is extreme and there is too much strain put on the affected foot. Hence, Maisonneuve Fracture is specially seen in athletes involved in running and contact sports like football, rugby, hockey and the like.

Sportsmen involved with cycling, skiing, gymnastics, dancing are also prone to Maisonneuve Fracture. An individual with a previous history of ankle injury is also prone to have a Maisonneuve Fracture.

What are the Symptoms of Maisonneuve Fracture?

Symptoms of Maisonneuve Fracture are persistent pain in the ankle as is present with an ankle sprain. This pain is usually worsened with any type of movement of the foot. The patient will find it extremely challenging to weight bear on the affected foot. This pain will also be accompanied by tenderness in the fibula bone. This whole area from the knee to the ankle will become inflamed, bruised and the individual will feel extremely unstable on the affected foot.

How is Maisonneuve Fracture Treated?

As soon as a Maisonneuve Fracture is suspected, emergent treatment is required, as Maisonneuve Fractures are quite difficult to diagnose since it may present as a combination of different injuries.

The general mode of treatment for Maisonneuve Fracture is surgery with placement of a syndesmosis screw so as to stabilize the ankle and allow the surrounding inflammation to heal.

Rehabilitation is the key for faster healing and chances of returning back to sports at a much faster time. If the injury is severe, it will be recommended that the patient rest the foot for a couple of weeks bearing no weight on it so as to allow the inflammation and the fracture to heal.

An ankle brace may also be utilized for this purpose. Once the inflammation has calmed down and the pain is much better then physical therapy will begin. This will involve stretching and strengthening the ankle and increase mobility of the ankle.

NSAIDs may be given for pain relief along with application of ice wrapped in a towel for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day.

What is the Recovery Period from Maisonneuve Fracture?

Maisonneuve Fractures take time to heal and recovery period depends on the severity of the injury and how disciplined the patient is during rehab and adhering to the physician’s recommendations.

Normally, it takes about 8-12 weeks before the patient with Maisonneuve fracture can get back to gradual weightbearing on the affected foot and then gradually progress to full weightbearing on the foot by 16 weeks.

The patient with Maisonneuve fracture can return gradually to sports within a time frame of about 20-24 weeks after suffering a Maisonneuve Fracture.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 6, 2018

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