A talus fracture is a broken ankle bone. The talus is the bone situated in the rear part of the foot that connects the leg and foot. It is responsible for connecting the two leg bones to form the ankle joint as well as facilitating downward and upward movement of the ankle.
An individual suspected with a talus fracture experiences symptoms such as swelling and pain in the ankle. In most cases, there is severe ankle pain that is accompanied by inability to walk properly due to the swelling and bruising.
What are the causes?
It is important to note that talus fractures are often caused by high-impact injuries. Falling from a ladder and vehicular accidents can result to severe injuries. Nevertheless, this type of fracture can also occur during activities that involve the twisting of the ankle in which small-sized fragments or chips are broken off the edges of the talus.
Diagnosing a talus fracture
In most cases, a diagnosis is made by the doctor during physical examination. The foot is thoroughly assessed for signs of swelling or bruising in the ankle. An X-ray is requested to determine the extent of joint involvement as well as show the size and location of the bone fragments. Oftentimes, a CT scan is also performed to reveal more information about the fracture. Since high-impact is usually involved with this type of fracture, the doctor will also check for other injuries involving the neck, back, head and the extremities.
Management of talus fractures
A talus fracture can be managed using a cast or surgery can also be recommended by the doctor.
Non-surgical treatment is usually recommended for fractures where the pieces of bone stay close together and the joint surfaces are properly aligned. Individuals who smoke or have poor circulation or diabetes can be managed without surgery since there is a high risk for developing complications if surgery is carried out.
In most cases, surgery is the ideal form of treatment for a talus fracture. The main objective of surgery is to restore the shape and size of the talus. Oftentimes, there is an issue since some cases involves multiple fragments of bone that can be difficult to put back together again.
In case the bone is shattered in several pieces, the surgeon will carry out open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). This procedure typically involves an incision on the exterior part of the affected foot and the placement of metal screws or a plate to hold the bones together until healing takes place. The procedure will allow full recovery of the outward and inward movement of the foot.
Length of recovery
The recovery period can be extended. The individual is not allowed to place any weight or use the affected leg for 8-12 weeks. Once the bone has healed, exercises and physical therapy can be started to restore the functionality of the ankle. Minimal swelling can occur for several months after the procedure.