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Sports Medicine

Bone Fragment in Right Ankle

01/03/2011

Question:

Hi, about 3 years ago i tore the ligaments in my right ankle for the second time severely. The first time this happened i was told by my orthopedic doctor that i was a floating bone fragment in my right ankle. Over the years it has worsened and I was curious to know the procedure of removing the fragment.

Answer:

A repeat evaluation by your physician - to include medical history, physical examination, and probably repeat imaging studies (X-rays and/or an MRI scan) - will determine whether or not a bone fragment remains present. 

If a bone fragment was noted to be present in the past but wasn't removed, ask your physician the reason for why it was not removed.

If a bone fragment is still present, it may or may not be the cause for your persisting symptoms. If it is felt to be the cause, your orthopedist should be able to explain the technique for removal, which would most preferably be through an arthroscope rather than through a larger incision.

If a bone fragment is no longer present, it may have been small enough that over time if has become reabsorbed and/or pulverized. If there is no fragment, the cause for your symptoms would be due to something else - for example, post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University