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Talus Fracture

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The talus is a small, yet important bone located in the ankle. The bone is located between the heel bone and the tibia and fibula. The talus appears as an irregular, humped shape bone. It is covered with cartilage and helps in moving the ankle joint. The talus also helps in transferring the weight from the shin to the foot. Talus fracture occurs when tremendous force is applied to the bone.

What is Talus Fracture?

Talus fracture can occur when excessive force or weight is put onto the bone. The force required to fracture the talus is quite tremendous and thus, it is often thought the injury occurs due to other related injuries in the ankle such as a sprain or fracture in the ankle or foot.

Fractures of the talus are a rare occurrence. However, they can lead to long-term disability.

There are four types of talus fractures. These include:

  • Neck and body fracture due to the sudden bracing action of foot when applying brakes forcefully during an accident or falling from a height.
  • Lateral process fracture when the foot is dorsiflexed and inverted during snowboarding.
  • Posterior process fracture due to sudden extension of foot or repetitive action in case of dances or athletes.
  • Talar dome fracture due to ankle inversion injuries.

Symptoms of Talus Fracture

Fractures of the talus causes:

  • Acute pain
  • Inability to walk
  • Inability to bear weight of the body on the foot
  • Swelling
  • Bruising and tenderness of the foot

Causes of Talus Fracture

Talus fractures are mostly due to high-energy trauma to the foot. These injuries include:

  • Fall from heights such as a fall from a ladder
  • Automobile accidents
  • Twisting of the ankle that causes small fragments or chips of bones to break off from the edge of the talus

Diagnosis of Talus Fracture

Talus fracture is a medical emergency and requires medical attention. The doctor will conduct a physical examination and check the swelling and bruising around the ankle. X-rays will help locate the fracture and the size of the bone fracture. At times, a CT scan is required to examine the injuries and get more information related to the fracture.

Treatment of Talus Fracture

Treatment for a talus fracture includes nonsurgical and surgical treatment. Nonsurgical treatment is opted for only when the talus fracture is stable and well-aligned. The foot is placed in a cast for 6 to 8 weeks. After the cast is removed, there are exercises to be followed to restore the range of motion and strengthen the bones.

Surgical treatment is required when the bones have been displaced. They are internally set and stabilized to reduce the risk of complications in future. Surgery includes open reduction and internal fixation by special screws and metal plates.

Recovery from Talus Fracture

Recovery from talus fracture takes about 8 weeks depending on the nature of injury. Physical therapy is suggested to improve the range of motion and to strengthen the ankle and foot muscles and bones.

One cannot put weight directly on the fractured talus immediately. Thus, one will require to use a cane or wear special boots to reduce the pressure on the foot for about 3 months.

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Complications of Talus Fracture

At times, there are certain complications related to the talus fracture. These include:

  • Avascular necrosis (AVN) – The blood supply to the bone can get interrupted due to the fracture and lead to painful collapse of the bone. Thus causing loss of motion, function and arthritis of the foot.
  • Post traumatic arthritis that develops after the fracture due to the damage to the cartilage covering the bone.

Talus fracture is a serious foot injury. Thus, make sure you seek proper medical care for its treatment. For any further information, ask your doctor for more details.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: June 08, 2015