Ankle fractures are a common injury diagnosed in the Emergency Department. Being able to speak Ortho-ese (i.e. the language of orthopedists) is invaluable in consulting the orthopedist over the phone. One ankle fracture classification system that our orthopedists like to use is the Lauge-Hansen system.
As a general rule, plain films are insensitive in ruling out orthopedic injuries. One particularly tricky area is the knee. This 2-view knee series above is normal.
Did you know that the sensitivity of picking up knee fractures is as low as 79% with a 2-view series and 85% with a 4-view series? With the advent of CT imaging, more and more subtle fractures are being found.
Over the years, I have been frustrated by how inelegant finger nailbed closure is. Nailbed lacerations are often sustained by a major crush injury, resulting in a stellate and irregular laceration pattern. This typically also requires the crushed fingernail to be removed. Cosmesis is never ideal because pieces of the nailbed are often missing, as seen in the photo above.
Occasionally, nailbed lacerations are caused by a cutting rather than a crush mechanism. In these cases, I use a different technique. I leave the fingernail on. In fact, I use the fingernail to help reapproximate the nailbed edges.
A man recently presents with knee pain after pivoting and torquing his knee while falling. He complains of concurrent mild ankle pain. He presents with this tib-fib xray. Realizing that a proximal fibular fracture can present concurrently with a medial malleolus fracture or deltoid ligament rupture, we obtained xrays of the ankle. We were looking for a Maisonneuve fracture.
Do you see an ankle injury in these four images?
With this hot summer season in California, kids have been running around and getting into all sorts of orthopedic troubles. Monkey bars are a common culprit. In treating pediatric patients in the ED, it’s worth spending an extra few minutes on the subtle style points.
Trick of the Trade:
Splint the buddy bear
You should consider keeping a stash of stuffed teddy bears in the ED for those patients, whom you splint or cast. It is a nice touch to have the patient go home with a teddy bear with the same “injury” and splint/cast.
It’s the little touches that will make your patient’s day a little less sucky.