TTUHSC El Paso Orthopaedic Residency Team Investigates Effects of Ankle Fractures on Young Active Military Runners

Despite a heavy academic load and patient care duties, residents in the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program continue to produce a number of research projects each year. One of particular interest to active runners is a focus on the rate of return to running by active military members after ankle fractures.

“We reviewed the charts of more than 70 young active military patients who had suffered ankle fractures and went on to have them surgically fixed,” said 3rd Year Orthopaedic Resident Nick Kusnezov. “We then looked longitudinally at how they did over the next two years with respect to their activity levels, complications, and satisfaction with their surgery.”

Kusnezov and his colleagues found that only two-thirds of patients were able to return to their normal running routines. One-sixth actually retired from the military due to persistent disability attributable to ankle problems. Kusnezov says this research helps doctors tremendously when counseling patients on what to expect post-surgery, and can even influence their ultimate course of action for such injuries.

“With the knowledge that there is a decent likelihood that they may not be able to return to running, they know what to expect and might be more inclined to work harder with therapy,” says Kusnezov.

The orthopaedic surgery residency program is sponsored by William Army Beaumont Army Medical Center. Attending surgeons are based at the Army hospital and at University Medical Center of El Paso. For more information on this residency program, email Major Justin Orr, M.D., program director at Justin.d.orr.mil@mail.mil.