Distal tibial fractures usually result from high-energy trauma, affecting young, active people, producing long-term disability and numerous complications. Their treatment is difficult, especially in type C fractures, which affect both the articular surface and the metaphysis, are quite frequent comminuted fractures, and are accompanied by soft tissue injuries. In these situations, External Fixation (EF) is used as a temporary bridging method, either for treating concomitant soft tissue injuries (in open fractures) or for achieving and maintaining reduction in order to prevent blisters or compartment syndrome, possibly resulting from severe displacement, bleeding or oedema. It must be however underlined that EF is rarely a definitive method for these fractures, especially when the ankle is splinted, and it must be followed by definitive Internal Fixation (IF) - the so-called “sequential method”, otherwise restoration of a normal ankle anatomy and function is improbable, resulting in ankle stiffness or even osteoarthritis. This paper presents a case in which this principle was only partially applied, thus requiring corrective surgery followed by a long-term recovery period.
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