A bimalleolar (bi-MAL-ee-uh-lur) fracture is a type of broken
ankle that happens when parts of both the tibia and fibula called the malleoli are
More to Know
The bony knobs on the inside and outside of the ankle are called the malleoli,
which is the plural form of malleolus. The knob on the inside, the medial malleolus,
is part of the tibia, or shinbone. The knob on the outside, the lateral malleolus,
is part of the fibula, the smaller bone
in the lower leg.
The prefix "bi" means "two," so a bimalleolar fracture is one that involves both
the medial malleolus and the lateral malleolus. This type of fracture often happens
as a result of the foot and ankle rolling inward, but it can also be caused by a trip
or fall, or by a direct blow to the ankle.
Bimalleolar fractures can cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising in the injured
ankle. They also can be tender to the touch and make walking or putting any weight
on the affected foot very difficult and painful.
Bimalleolar fractures make the ankle unstable and typically require surgery
to implant metal plates, screws, and rods to keep the bones aligned. Following surgery,
the ankle is usually put in a short leg cast. In general, it takes at least 6 weeks
for the broken malleoli to heal.
Keep in Mind
A bimalleolar fracture usually requires someone to keep weight off the affected
foot for a few weeks, but in most cases, people return to normal daily activities
within 3 to 4 months. Stretching and strengthening exercises supervised by a doctor
or physical therapist can help improve ankle function and mobility during the healing
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