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Foot (Talus Bone) Fracture

The talus is a small irregular bone with a joint above it and another one below it. The upper joint is where the bones of the lower leg meet the foot; the lower joint is where the talus meets the bones of the lower part of the foot.

When it has been confirmed that the talus is broken surgery is usually required to repair it. In rare cases, if the bones haven't moved out of place, it may be possible to put a cast on the broken bones without surgery first.

Without proper treatment, however, you may have ongoing problems such as arthritis, chronic pain, collapse of the bone or an inability to use your foot normally. It is important to be sure that the blood supply to the toes, bones and muscles hasn't been disrupted and that there is no nerve damage.

During surgery, your orthopaedic surgeon will clean out any fragments of broken bone from the joint. He or she may also need to realign the bones of the talus if they have shifted out of their proper position. Once this has been done, the surgeon will hold the bones in place with metal screws. In some cases, it's necessary to do bone grafts to restore the stability and strength to your foot and ankle.

After surgery, your doctor will put a cast on the foot to make sure that the bones don't move during the healing process. You will need to wear the cast and avoid putting any weight on your foot for six to eight weeks.

During this time, your doctor may order X-rays or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to confirm that the blood supply to the bone is returning. If the blood is disrupted, the bone tissue could die, a condition called avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis. It can cause the bone to collapse.

Even if the bones heal properly, you may develop arthritis in later years. Most of the talus is covered with articular cartilage. If the cartilage is damaged, bone rubs against bone, causing pain and stiffness. Treatments for arthritis of the ankle include adjusting your activities, ankle-foot orthoses, joint fusion and bone grafting and ankle replacement.

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