Case Report: Arthroscopic removal of fractures of the lateral malleolus of the tibia in the tarsocrural joint: A retrospective study of 13 cases

Authors: 
H. D. O'NEILL, B. M. BLADON
Volume: 
42
Number: 
6
Pages: 
558-62
Journal: 
Equine Veterinary Journal
Date: 
September 2010

There is limited information on the treatment of lateral malleolus (LM) fractures in the horse, with no previously published case series for the outcome following arthroscopic removal of such fractures. This report reviews and evaluates findings of a retrospective study of 13 horses admitted to a private equine referral hospital over a 10 year period (1999–2009) that underwent arthroscopic removal of fractures of the LM. Hospital records were reviewed and details including patient history, aetiology of the fracture and limb affected, results of all diagnostic tests and surgical reports were documented. Performance information concerning Thoroughbred horses that went onto race post operatively was collected using an online database. Owners and trainers were contacted regarding the return to performance for non-Thoroughbred cases or those that did not go onto race post operatively. Of the 13 horses presented, 12 were Thoroughbreds, 9 of which were National Hunt racehorses and 3 were Flat racehorses. The other horse in the study was used for general purpose riding. All cases presented with an acute unilateral fracture. Eleven of the 13 had >6 months post operative follow-up and all were nonlame. Of the 12 Thoroughbreds, 10 have raced again, a total of 104 times (median 5 times). The median time from surgery to return to racing was 241 days (180–366 days). It is concluded that horses with fractures of the LM have an excellent prognosis for return to full athletic performance following arthroscopic debridement; and that arthroscopic fragment removal is an appropriate treatment method for fractures of the LM.