Diagnosis and Treatment of Talus Fractures in Wake County

Doctor wrapping patient's ankle

What is a Talus Fracture?

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 Fractures?

Talus fractures are often caused by high-energy impacts or trauma, including falls from a roof, ladder, or stairs, along with 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 this type of injury.

Symptoms of a Talus Fracture

There are several signs that may indicate the presence of a talus fracture. If you notice any of the following symptoms, please schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. They will be able to determine the cause of your pain and guide you toward the best next steps for recovery.

  • Significant pain
  • Pain to the touch
  • Inability to walk or put weight on the affected foot
  • Bruising
  • Swelling

How are Talus Fractures Diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a physical examination, noting any swelling or bruising on your foot. 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, and whether you are experiencing compartment syndrome. They may also check for injuries to other parts of your body, such as your neck and back, if you have experienced an accident or fall.

Treatment Options for Talus Fractures at Raleigh Orthopaedic

A talus fracture may be treated surgically or non-surgically. Your orthopedic specialist will walk you through your options and determine the best course of treatment based on your individual situation.

Nonsurgical Treatment

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Non-surgical 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 to keep your ankle stabilized, allowing the fracture to heal. After you get your cast off, you will need to go through physical therapy, to regain your strength and mobility.

Surgical Treatment Options

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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 used to fix the fracture. Whether your fracture is treated surgically or non-surgically, you will likely have to use crutches and a cast for anywhere from two weeks (for a simple, non-surgical fracture) to 4 months or more as your foot heals. After the successful surgical or non-surgical intervention, you still may experience stiffness or pain. In the future, you may develop arthritis in the joint.

How Can I Prevent a Talus Fracture?

Since the primary cause of a talus fracture is usually a fall or accident, this type of injury is very difficult to prevent. However, proper treatment for your fracture will help you to heal properly and avoid additional complications in the future.

Expert Foot and Ankle Care at Raleigh Orthopaedic

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For over 100 years, we have served patients in Wake County and provided the highest level of orthopedic care. If you have been in an accident or fall that does not require hospitalization, we encourage you to visit one of our orthopedic urgent care centers in Wake County. Along with urgent medical care, we provide all manner of general orthopedic services, including foot and ankle care. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers near you, please give us a call or book online today.