The talus is a small bone that makes up the lower part of the ankle joint, positioned between the heel bone and the tibia and fibula. It acts as a connection between the foot and the leg. A talus fracture is usually caused by high-energy trauma, often the result from an automobile accident or a fall from a height. Talus fractures are extremely painful, causing swelling, tenderness and an inability to bear weight on that foot.
X-rays are usually obtained to diagnose a person with a talus fracture. X-rays can show whether the bone is broken and whether there is any displacement. A CT scan may be ordered if your surgeon determines they need more information about the fracture or for surgical planning.
Treatment for talus fractures is essential because if it does not heal correctly, the foot’s mobility may be reduced and chronic pain and arthritis may develop. Some talus fractures can be treated with casting, followed by physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility. In most cases, however, surgery is necessary to realign the injured bones and properly support the joint. After surgery, you will likely be in a splint or a cast from 2-8 weeks depending on the severity of the injury.
Complications may arise after a talus fracture. The most common complications are Avascular Necrosis (AVN) of the talus and post-traumatic arthritis. With unstable fractures, the blood supply can be compromised to the talus bone resulting in AVN. The more severe a talus fracture is, the more likely it is to develop AVN. After a talus fracture, the cartilage protecting the bones can be damaged which can lead to pain and limited motion.