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Talus Fracture

SUMMARY

Causes

  • Impact or excessive pressure or weight placed on the talus bone
  • Often due to underlying injuries or combination of injuries i.e. ankle/foot sprain
  • Common in sports requiring running and jumping
  • Overuse injury

Symptoms

  • Surge of pain in the ankle at the point of injury
  • Inability to bear weight on the ankle
  • Swelling and bruising

Treatment

  • Minor Surgery
  • Rest
  • Braces and supports
  • Physiotherapy

What is a Talus Fracture?

The talus is a small bone located in the ankle which is responsible for moving the ankle joint and transferring weight from the shin to the foot. A talus fracture occurs when an excessive amount of weight is put onto the talus, usually after landing from a jump or rolling on the ankle causing the bone to break. The amount of weight and pressure required to break the talus is excessive and therefore it is often suggested that this injury can occur as a result of other injuries to the area such as ankle or foot sprain or even another fracture.

This injury is most common in sports such as football, rugby and basketball due to the amount of jumping and quick direction changes involved. This injury can also appear as a result of overuse which is common in sports which involve a large amount of running and sprinting.

Talus Fracture Symptoms

Patients who sustain a talus fracture are likely to feel a sudden surge of pain in the ankle at the point of injury to the point in which the patient may not be able to bear any weight and may limp when walking. The initial intense pain will often subside, leaving pain in the front of the ankle and often the back and sides. It is common for the area to feel weak and stiffness in the area which is most apparent in mornings.

Swelling and bruising is also common in the ankle and sometimes the patient may have a pins and needles sensation in the area.

Talus Fracture Diagnosis

In order to diagnose a Talus Fracture a doctor will give a full examination of the area and an X ray is performed in order to confirm the diagnosis. A doctor may also recommend an MRI or CT scan is used to rule out any further injury or complications.

Talus Fracture Treatment

For severe cases or when a displaced fracture occurs, surgery may be required in order to re-align and stabilize the talus as well as removing any fragments of bone. If surgery is undergone, a patient can then expect to be provided with a plaster cast or brace and required to use crutches for a period of time, however these measures may also be adopted without surgery in order to immobilise the injury.

In order to treat this injury, rest is crucial so to not damage the tendon any further and to stay away from any activity that could aggravate the knee or causes any pain or discomfort to the area. Continuing any strenuous activity or resuming sport will not only hinder the healing process, it could lead to further damage.

A strengthening program may also be advised by a physiotherapist to keep the area strong and ensure flexibility once the injury had healed. This should not be done without professional advice as a patient can run the risk of aggravating the area and slow the healing process. In the final stages of recovery and in the first few months of returning to training, stretching exercises may be performed to keep the area stable and strong and can also help prevent the injury reoccurring.

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