Talus Fracture: Symptoms, Treatment, & Recovery
The talus is a bone in your ankle that connects your shin bone with your heel bone. Since the talus bone is an important connection point between your foot and leg, talus fractures can result in significant weakness. Normally, talus injuries require a great deal of force to occur; they often result from car accidents or high falls.
What Causes Talus Fracture?
Talus fractures are often caused by high-energy impacts or trauma, including falls from a roof, ladder, or stair, and car or motorcycle accidents. Talus fractures may also occur in sports such as snowboarding or from twisting an ankle, which can result in small chips that come away from the bone.
Talus Fracture Risk Factors
Risk factors for talus fractures overlap with the causes of the injury. Engaging in high-impact sports, riding a motorcycle, or working on rooftops, trees, or in areas that may result in a fall are all risk factors for the injury.
Symptoms of Talus Fracture
An individual with a talus fracture may notice a great deal of pain, inability to walk or put weight on the affected foot, bruising, pain to the touch, and swelling.
How is Talus Fracture Diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical examination, noting any swelling or bruising. They may also confirm whether you have a good blood supply in your foot by checking the pulses in your foot, whether you have experienced nerve damage by asking you to wiggle your toes, whether you are experiencing compartment syndrome, and may examine you for injuries to other parts of your body (in case you have experienced an accident or fall that may have caused injuries to your neck or back, for example).
Treatment for Talus Fracture
Talus Fracture may be treated surgically or non-surgically.
Nonsurgical treatment for a talus fracture may be possible if your bones are aligned and the fracture is stable. In this case, your doctor will place you in a cast in order to keep your ankle stabilized, allowing the fracture to heal. After you get your cast off, you will need to go through physical therapy in order to regain your strength and mobility.
The vast majority of talus fractures will require surgery to correct. Many of these injuries are caused by high-impact accidents or falls, meaning it is unlikely that your joint is in good alignment. In these cases, you may require open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), which is a surgery that employs the use of metal plates and screws to hold your bone together. If you are experiencing too much swelling to have surgery right away, your doctor may elect to use an external fixator to stabilize your ankle until your swelling subsides. With an external fixator, your doctor will place pins to hold your bones in place that are held by bars on the exterior of your skin. After your swelling goes down, your surgeon may attempt ORIF. Physical therapy after a period of using crutches and wearing a boot will be required to return to normal function.
Talus Fracture Recovery Time
Recovery from talus fractures varies depending on the severity and method to fix the fracture. Treated surgically or non-surgically, you will likely have to use crutches and a cast for anywhere from two weeks (for a simple, nonsurgical fracture), to 4 months or more as it heals. After the successful surgical or nonsurgical intervention, you still may experience stiffness or pain. In the future, you may develop arthritis in the joint.
How Can I Prevent Talus Fracture?
Since the primary cause of a talus fracture is usually a fall or accident, it may not be possible to prevent them.
Expert Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic
For over 100 years, we have served patients in Wake County and provided the highest level of orthopedic care. If you wish to set up an appointment, give us a call, or use our link below to book online. Book an appointment now.