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Talus Fractures

The talus is the small bone in the ankle joint that connects the heel bone and the bones of the lower leg. The shape of the talus enables the up and down movements of the foot. Fractures in the talus may occur due to a fall from great heights, motor vehicle accidents or twisting of the ankle. The symptoms include severe ankle pain, inability to walk, swelling and tenderness.

When you present to the clinic with these symptoms, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination and order an X-ray or CT-scan to diagnose the location and severity of the fracture. Talus fractures are treated by either non-surgical or surgical methods.

Non-surgical treatment: If the bone has not moved out of alignment, your doctor will place your ankle in a cast for 6 to 8 weeks. You will be advised to perform exercises to help strengthen your foot and ankle and restore range of motion once the cast is removed.

Surgical treatment: When the fracture is displaced and when it is associated with a dislocation, your surgeon reduces the dislocation and then realigns the fractured bone and stabilizes it with metal screws and sometimes plates and screws. Small bone fragments may be removed and replaced. After surgery, you may have to wear a cast for 12 weeks until complete healing. Physical therapy exercises will be initiated to restore movement.

Fractures of the talus are often associated with loss of blood supply to the bone. This is especially true when the fractures are to the neck of the talus and there is an associated dislocation. Of this occurs, you will need prolonged immobilisation, medications to minimise loss of bone and you will probably need further surgery to reconstruct the foot.