A talus fracture is a broken ankle bone. The talus is the bone in the back of the foot that connects the leg and the foot. It joins with the two leg bones (tibia and fibula) to form the ankle joint, allowing for upwards and downwards motion of the ankle.
Symptoms and Clinical Presentation
Most patients present with pain and swelling about the ankle. They also experience severe ankle pain with inability to walk due to the bruising and swelling.
Cause (including risk factors)
Talus fractures are often the result of high-energy injuries, such as a fall from a ladder or automobile accidents, resulting in the most severe type of injuries. However, they may also occur from twisting your ankle, resulting in small chips or fragments that are broken off the edges of the talus.
The ankle bone (talus) sits within the ankle "mortise," or hinge, which is made up of the two leg bones, the tibia and fibula.
Three joints are present: the ankle, which allows the up and down motion of the foot with the leg; the subtalar joint, which allows "inversion" and "eversion" of the foot with the leg; and the talonavicular joint, which has a complicated biomechanical function that controls flexibility of the foot and the arch of the foot.
The talus has no muscular attachments and is mostly covered with cartilage, which makes injuries to the talus difficult to heal.
In many cases the diagnosis can be made by your physician on physical examination alone. He or she will examine your foot for evidence of swelling or bruising about the ankle. X-rays are performed to help understand the extent of joint involvement and to show the location and size of bone fragments.
Oftentimes, a specialized X-ray, called a CT scan, is ordered to provide the physician with more information about the fracture. Due to the high energy that is commonly associated with these injuries, your physician may also examine you for other injuries involving the back, neck, head, and other extremities.
*Source: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society® http://www.aofas.org
OrthoInfo.org, website of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS)