Fragility ankle fractures are traditionally managed conservatively or with open reduction internal fixation. Tibiotalocalcaneal (TTC) nailing is an alternative option for the geriatric patient. This meta-analysis provides the most detailed analysis of TTC nailing for fragility ankle fractures.
A systematic search was performed on MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science, identifying 14 studies for inclusion. Studies including patients with a fragility ankle fracture, defined according to NICE guidelines as a low-energy fracture obtained following a fall from standing height or less, that were treated with TTC nail were included. Patients with a previous fracture of the ipsilateral limb, fibular nails, and pathological fractures were excluded. This review was registered in PROSPERO (ID: CRD42021258893).
A total of 312 ankle fractures were included. The mean age was 77.3 years old. In this study, 26.9% were male, and 41.9% were diabetics. The pooled proportion of superficial infection was 10% (95% CI: 0.06–0.16), deep infection 8% (95% CI: 0.06–0.11), implant failure 11% (95% CI: 0.07–0.15), malunion 11% (95% CI: 0.06–0.18), and all-cause mortality 27% (95% CI: 0.20–0.34). The pooled mean post-operative Olerud–Molander ankle score was 54.07 (95% CI: 48.98–59.16). Egger’s test (P = 0.56) showed no significant publication bias.
TTC nailing is an adequate alternative option for fragility ankle fractures. However, current evidence includes mainly case series with inconsistent post-operative rehabilitation protocols. Prospective randomised control trials with long follow-up times and large cohort sizes are needed to guide the use of TTC nailing for ankle fractures.