Anatomy of the Ankle Bone
The talus is located on the lower area of the joint where the tibia and fibula bones meet the ankle. Also known as the anklebone, the talus is the main connecting unit between the leg and foot while permitting the joint to function in terms of full range of mobility. It’s crucial incorporation in the normal mechanics of the foot allow the human body to successfully walk with ease. The development of problems in the talus can cause significant pain and limitations of both the ankle and hind foot joints.
What Causes a Talus Fracture?
Talus fractures occur from high-energy impacts and serious trauma to the foot or ankle. Fractures can also occur from twisting an ankle, landing a jump poorly, a direct blow to the lower extremities, or other severe collision accidents.
Types of Talus Fractures
Talus fractures have three separate classifications that determine the severity of the condition. The following will briefly describe each type of talus fracture.
- Minimally Displaced Fracture: the bone is slightly affected and shifted out of place. This fracture can be treated without surgery maintains it’s overall stability.
- Displaced Fracture: the bones are significantly shifted out of place and minimally invasive surgery is commonly utilized to make corrective adjustments to stabilize the bone.
- Open Fracture: bone is severely broken and pierces through the skin. This fracture is commonly referred to as a compound fracture and surgery is necessary to heal the injury.
- Bone Chips: a very small piece of bone can chip off and separate from the talus. This is usually amendable with immobilization.
- Stress Fractures: a small crack in the bone that occurs from repetitive use and stress on the bone.
Talus Fracture Symptoms
Talus fracture symptoms tend to show obvious signs of pain and a significant reduction in ankle joint mobility. Below will list the common symptoms that you may experience when the talus becomes injured.
- Varying levels of pain in the ankle.
- Difficulty walking
- Swelling, bruising, soreness, tenderness
Talus Fracture Treatment
The treatment approach for a talus fracture is based upon the location of the fracture, the degree of involvement of the joints, and the severity of the break. Some fracture patterns do not require surgical treatment – therefore only immobilization techniques are necessary with stable breaks. On occasion talus fractures will need specialized medical attention and surgical treatment. The type of surgery will depend on the complexity of the break and if the joints need to be realigned. Bone fractures are typically held in place with screws and metal plates to help stabilize the inner anatomy of the talus.
Talus Fracture Recovery
Depending upon the severity of your talus fracture, recovery can be quite minimal. Some patients may be able to bear weight immediately while some may experience up to 12 weeks of weight bearing restriction. During a typical talus fracture recovery, patients are immobilized in a boot once skin incisions have healed. This protective mobility assistant may be removed to begin early range of motion exercises in order to minimize initial stiffness of the foot and ankle regions. Your individualized long-term talus fracture prognosis may be contingent upon the initial x-ray and clinical observations by your physician.
Board-Certified Foot & Ankle Specialist
Due to the complex nature of the talus and its respective fractures, many complications may arise post-injury. Treatment from an experienced orthopedic specialist must be considered to correct your injury. Dr. Anand Vora is a board certified orthopedist specializing in foot and ankle conditions prepared to ensure a full recovery of your condition. Contact Dr. Vora to schedule an appointment and learn how the available orthopedic services can help you today!
For more on this condition, also see:
Arthritis of the foot and ankle
Reconstruction after Hindfoot and Heel Bone Fractures (talus, calcaneus)
Total ankle replacement
Arthroscopic minimally invasive ankle arthrodesis (fusion)