The Trauma and Orthopaedic team, led by Mr Barry Rose (Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon and WAX Study Principal Investigator), and the Research team at Conquest Hospital, have been praised for being one of the leading recruiting sites in the country for a research study into Weight-bearing in Ankle Fractures called the WAX Study.
The WAX Study’s primary aim is to “To determine whether functional outcomes at four months are not worse in people who are allowed to weight-bear at two weeks following surgery for an unstable ankle fracture compared to those waiting six weeks before weight-bearing.”
There are around 170 ankle fractures each day in the UK. Many of these injuries heal with support in a plaster cast or splint, but some require surgery to restore the natural alignment of the bones and fix them in place with screws and plates. This promotes good ankle function once the fracture has healed.
Following surgery for an ankle fracture, patients are commonly told not to walk on the affected leg for six weeks in order to allow the bones to heal. Whilst restricting the weight put through the affected leg might reduce the chance of surgical complications, including infection, breakage of the plates and screws and loss of alignment requiring revision surgery, it has been associated with problems such as blood clots, muscle weakness, stiffness and poorer recovery. It is unclear that the traditional six weeks period of limited walking is of any benefit.
For more information visit the study website – WAX – Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences