Fractures of the Talus

Torrance Foot & Ankle Specialists

The talus is a bone that makes up the lower part of the ankle, or subtalar joint, between the fibula and tibia bones of the lower leg and the calcaneus (heel bone). It connects the leg and the foot and allows for upward and downward movement of the ankle. Because the talus is important for walking and inversion / eversion of the foot, talus bone fractures can greatly limit mobility.

Talus fractures are a break in the ankle bone which causes pain, swelling, bruising, and an inability to walk or bear weight on the ankle. In most cases, talus fractures result from high-energy injuries and sudden impact trauma, including falls from heights and auto accidents. These fractures can also result from twisting the ankle, which can cause small fragments or chips of bone to break off from the edges of the talus.

Talus fractures can lead to chronic arthritis, foot impairment, and other long-term complications when left untreated, which is why it becomes critical to seek treatment. At Torrance Memorial Physician Network, our foot and ankle specialists conduct thorough and personalized evaluations in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis and create a tailored plan for treatment.

Treatment of Talus Fractures

Due to severe pain and symptoms, many people who suffer talus fractures may first seek initial treatment at an urgent care or the emergency room. Upon follow-up with a specialist, specific treatment plans can be created based on the type of fracture and its severity.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Talus fractures that are stable, or well-aligned, can be effectively treated through nonsurgical methods, including:

  • Casting – Casting will immobilize and protect the ankle while the bones heal. Patients will commonly wear a cast for 6 to 8 weeks, and may be asked to limit the amount of weight they bear on the affected ankle. This is because the bones will need to heal enough for a patient to be able to bear weight without the risk of displacement.
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapy, stretching, and exercises can be used after casting to help strengthen the ankle and foot, restore range of motion, and improve function.

Surgical Treatment

Due to the high-energy impact that typically causes these breaks, talus fractures are usually not stable, and therefore require surgery to set and stabilize bones in the ankle. Ensuring that displaced bones are properly aligned through surgery can improve outcomes and reduce the risk of future complications.

  • Open reduction and internal fixation – Using screws or metal plates to hold the ankle in place, surgical treatment for a talus fracture involves the repositioning, or reduction, of bone fragments into correct alignment and fixation. Depending on the severity of the break, patients may be required to wear a splint or cast for several weeks following surgery. They will also receive regular monitoring to ensure the bones are aligned and properly healing. Gradually, they will begin physical therapy, motion exercises, and weight-bearing exercises.

Request an Appointment

Treating a talus fracture is critical to ensuring proper function of the ankle and limiting future risks, and it should be done as soon as possible after an injury. Our board-certified specialists are readily available to help when you call to request an appointment.