Increased Risk of Nonunion and Charcot Arthropathy After Ankle Fracture in People With Diabetes

Lawrence A. Lavery, David C. Lavery, Tyson Green, Nathan Hunt, Javier La Fontaine, Paul J. Kim, Dane Wukich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of complications after an ankle fracture in patients with and without diabetes and to evaluate risk factors for nonunion. We conducted a retrospective study of 439 patients with ankle fractures (31.7% had diabetes) and followed them for 1 year or until the fracture healed. The fracture severity and determination of nonunion and Charcot arthropathy were determined from independent evaluation of radiographs by 2 members of the research team. Nonunion was defined as a fracture that did not heal within 6 months of the fracture. The majority of patients were women (67% in each group). The risk of complications was significantly higher in patients with diabetes compared with those without diabetes. The odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for nonunion was 6.5 (3.4 to 12.8); for Charcot arthropathy, 7.6 (2.3 to 21.0); for wounds, 1.8 (1.1 to 2.9); for infection, 2.8 (1.4 to 5.7); and for amputation, 6.6 (0.98 to 80.0). In the logistical regression analysis, 6 factors were associated with fracture nonunion: dialysis (7.7; 1.7 to 35.2), diabetes (3.3; 1.5 to 7.4), fracture severity (bi- and trimalleolar fractures) (4.9; 1.4 to 18.0), beta blockers (2.5; 1.1 to 5.4), steroids (3.1; 1.2 to 7.7), and infection (3.7; 1.2 to 11.3). The results of the study demonstrate the increased risk of complications after an ankle fracture among patients with diabetes, dialysis, or open fractures and those using steroids and beta blockers. Further work is needed to identify areas for risk reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)653-656
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • 2
  • amputation
  • ankle fracture
  • diabetes
  • infection
  • nonunion
  • retrospective cohort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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