A break affecting the bones forming the ankle are known as talus fractures. These fractures commonly occur as a result of a high-energy event. The talus produces ankle movement and patients often cause loss of motion. If the fracture does not heal properly, serious complications may arise, including long-term chronic pain, meaning many talus fractures require surgery.
The talus sits above the heel bone, making up the lower part of the ankle joint. The talus and calcaneus create the subtalar joint. Together, these two bones help support the body as you walk, and stabilizes the ankle on uneven ground. The talus transfers weight and pressure, forcing weight distribution across the ankle joint. The bone is the primary connection between the foot and leg.
Fractures can occur in any part of the talus bone. Most breaks take place in the mid-portion, also known as the neck. The outside of the bone, where it slightly juts out, is also a common site for fracture. This section of the talus is known as the lateral process, and fractures to this area often caused when the ankle is forced outward.
Patients with talus fractures usually report acute pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness and an inability to bear weight on foot.
Fractures are classified by how severe the displacement is. Minimally displaced/stabled fracture slightly push the bone out of place. The ends of the bone almost line up correctly, and usually stay in place during healing, recovery, and surgery may not be needed. When the bones move out of anatomic position, the fracture is displaced. Highly displaced fractures are more likely to be unstable. These types of injuries require surgery to restore alignment. An open fracture is known as a break where the bone is pushed through the skin. The muscle, tendons, and ligaments are often damaged, making the fracture more susceptible to chronic pain if improperly treated.