Fracture of the talus

A talus fracture or broken talus is a fracture of the large bone between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula). The tibia and fibula sit on top and around the sides of the talus to form the ankle joint. The talus meets the bones of the foot and forms the subtalar joint. The talus serves an important function as a connector between your foot and leg. It helps to transfer weight and pressure across the ankle joint. It moves not only at the ankle joint, but also below the ankle and in the midfoot. Any injury to the talus such as a fracture can affect the motions of the ankle and foot joints.

Virtually unheard of a century ago, talus fractures are more common today. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of talus fractures, followed by falls. The popularity of snowboarding also has contributed to the rise in broken talus accidents. Other causes of talus fractures include:

  • Overuse
  • Sports and activities involving running and jumping
  • Underlying injuries or combination of injuries such as an ankle or foot sprain

Symptoms

You may experience these common symptoms of a talus fracture:

  • Surge of acute pain at the time of injury
  • Inability to bear weight on your foot
  • Considerable swelling, bruising and tenderness around the ankle joint

Treatment

Treatment of a talus fracture depends on the extent of the injury. If the fracture is not out of position, a simple cast may be sufficient for treatment. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), most broken talus injuries require surgery to minimize later complications. The primary surgical procedure for a broken talus is fixation of fracture. After surgery, you won't be able to put weight on your foot for approximately three months. 

The multidisciplinary team of foot and ankle experts at Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute treats talus fractures as well as a broad range of foot and ankle conditions that can occur at any stage of life.

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