Hospital Misdiagnosis Of Foot & Ankle Fractures
- AuthorSylvia Taylor
Foot and ankle injuries are a common place reason for attending the Accident and Emergency Department or Minor Injuries Unit.
The Ottawa Ankle and Foot Rules were devised to determine when x-rays are required.
An ankle x-ray should be performed when:-
- there is an inability to weight bear, both immediately after the incident and in the casualty department,
- when there is bone tenderness at the edge or tip of the lateral malleolus,
- when there is bone tenderness of the posterior edge or tip of the medial malleolus.
A foot x-ray is required if there is an inability to weight bear, both immediately and in the casualty department or where there is bone tenderness at the base of the fifth metatarsal or at the navicular.
If the Rules are applied correctly then appropriate x-rays should identify the fracture and enable it to be treated appropriately.
Problems can arise when the emergency doctor wrongly diagnoses the injury as being a sprained ankle or a soft tissue injury, having failed to properly apply the Ottawa Ankle and Foot Rules. As a result the injury can be left untreated for weeks or months. By the time the fracture is identified conservative treatment is often no longer an option and surgery is required. This can result in the patient developing further problems such as arthritis or reduced movement of the limbs.