What is a talus fracture?

A talus fracture is simply a damaged ankle bone. The talus is the bone in the rear part of the foot that links to the leg. The bone joins with the 2 leg bones to form the ankle joint which enables downward and upward movement.

This type of fracture is often due to high-impact injuries. Falling from ladders and vehicular accidents can lead to severe injuries. Nevertheless, these fractures might also occur if the ankle is twisted violently.

talus-fracture

The conservative approach is recommended for a talus fracture where the bony pieces stay close together and the joint surface is still properly aligned.

Indications

  • Ankle pain
  • Swelling
  • Inability or difficulty in walking due to the swelling and bruising

Diagnosis

Generally, a diagnosis is made by the doctor based on the physical assessment of the injury. The doctor will check the foot for swelling or bruising in the ankle.

An X-ray is also carried out to determine the extent of joint damage and reveal the site and size of the bone fragments. Oftentimes, a CT scan is required to provide the doctor with more details.

Due to the strong forces involved with these injuries, the doctor might also assess for other injuries involving the neck, back, head and other extremities.

Management of a talus fracture

A talus fracture might be treated using a cast or surgery might be suggested.

Conservative approach

The conservative approach is recommended for a talus fracture where the bony pieces stay close together and the joint surface is still properly aligned.

Those who smoke or diagnosed with diabetes or poor circulation might be treated without requiring surgery due to the high risk for complications if surgery is done.

Surgical approach

In most cases, surgery is the ideal form of treatment for a talus fracture. The objective of surgery is to restore the size and form of the talus. Oftentimes, this is an issue as several bone fragments might be difficult to restore together.

In case there are numerous large-sized fragments of bone, the surgeon might carry out open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). This procedure comprises the creation of an incision on the exterior of the foot and placement of a metal plate and screws to secure the bones as healing starts. The procedure ensures optimum recovery of the outward and inward movement of the foot.

Length of recovery

The recovery might be extended. The individual is not allowed to place any weight or walk using the affected leg for 8-12 weeks. Once the bone has recuperated, physical therapy and exercise is started to optimize the functionality of the ankle. Some swelling is expected around the foot for several months after surgery.

Always bear in mind that the injury can be debilitating due to the persistent pain, swelling and stiffness even after a seamless surgery. Nevertheless, most individuals can resume recreational activities and work depending on the severity and type of fracture.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a talus fracture is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this form of fracture by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.

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