Association of Preoperative Opioid Use With Postoperative Opioid Use and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Ankle Fracture Fixation Patients

Nicholas Reiners, Sandy Vang, Rachael Rivard, Nicholas Bostrom, Mai P. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Ankle fracture surgery is a common procedure with many patients receiving opioid medications for postoperative pain control. Whether there are factors associated with higher medication quantities or patient-reported outcomes, however, remains largely unknown. Methods: Patients with isolated, rotational ankle fractures who underwent surgical fixation between January 2018 and March 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, injury characteristics, and preoperative and postoperative opioid prescription information were recorded. Clinical follow-up and Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM) questionnaires were collected at 6 weeks and 3 months postoperatively. Multiple linear regression was used to examine the influences of age, sex, body mass index (BMI), fracture characteristics, medical comorbidities, and preoperative opioid use (OU) on postoperative opioid morphine milligram equivalent (MME) amount and FAAM scores. Results: A total of 294 patients were included with an average age of 52.11 ± 17.13 years (range, 18-97). Fracture types were proportional to one another. Chronic pain (mean = 145.89, 95% CI = 36.72, 255.05, P =.0009), preoperative OU (mean = 178.22, 95% CI = 47.46, 308.99, P =.0077), psychiatric diagnoses (mean = 143.81, 95% CI = 58.37, 229.26, P =.001), tobacco use (mean = 137.37, 95% CI = 33.35, 229.26, P =.0098), and trimalleolar fractures (mean = 184.83, 95% CI = 86.82, 282.84, P =.0002) were associated with higher postoperative opioid MME amounts. Older age (mean = ‒0.05, 95% CI = ‒0.08, –0.02, P =.0014) and higher BMI (mean = ‒0.06, 95% CI = ‒0.12, 0.00, P =.048) were both independently associated with lower FAAM scores at 6 weeks. At 3 months, higher BMI (mean = ‒0.09, 95% CI = ‒0.13, –0.04, P =.0002), bimalleolar fractures (mean = ‒1.17, 95% CI = ‒2.17, –0.18, P =.021), and higher postoperative MME amounts (mean = ‒0.10, 95% CI = ‒0.19, –0.01, P =.0256) were each independently associated with lower FAAM scores. Conclusion: In this study, we found that patients with chronic pain, preoperative OU, psychiatric diagnoses, tobacco use, and trimalleolar fractures were more likely to have higher amounts of opioid prescribed following ankle fracture surgery. However, only age, BMI, bimalleolar fractures, and postoperative MME amount were associated with lower FAAM scores postoperatively. Level of Evidence: Level III, retrospective cohort study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFoot and Ankle Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • ankle fracture
  • opioid
  • patient-reported outcomes
  • trauma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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