Talus Fracture

Talus Fracture

The talus bone is a pivotal bone in the ankle. It is an important connector between the leg and foot and is held in place by ligaments — no tendons. Most talus fractures occur in car accidents or truck accidents and they are marked by swelling, bruising, severe pain, and inability to bear weight. If a talus fracture goes untreated or does not heal properly, it can create long-term complications. Those complications include:

  • impaired foot function
  • loss of range of motion
  • arthritis
  • chronic pain
  • bone collapse

Talus Fracture Treatment

If a talus fracture is suspected, the doctor will order a series of x-rays of the foot and ankle to pinpoint the location of the fracture. If x-rays are inconclusive, a CT scan will be necessary. The imaging will help the doctor determine whether the bones are aligned or displaced. Imaging will also reveal if loose bone chips are present that may need to be removed surgically.

The doctor will check for nerve damage and adequate blood supply to the joint and the foot. If the blood supply is disrupted, the bone tissue could die allowing the bone to collapse. The orthopedist will usually do a follow-up x-ray or MRI to check on the blood supply.

After surgery, the ankle will be immobilized in a cast for 6-8 weeks. The ankle must not bear weight for at least 3 months. Even if the talus fracture heals properly, the ankle may eventually develop arthritis. More than half of the talus is covered with cartilage. When the cartilage is injured, the smooth surface is compromised which can lead to accelerated joint wear and ultimately arthritis.

There are a variety of treatments for arthritis, including:

  • modification of activity
  • ankle-foot brace
  • joint fusion
  • bone grafting
  • ankle replacement

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