The talus is a bone that is an important part of the ankle joint. It helps to transfer weight and pressure forces across the ankle point. It is located between the tibia and fibula of the lower leg and the calcaneus or heel bone. The tibia and fibula are situated on top and around the sides of the talus and thus form the ankle joint. At the point where the talus meets the calcaneus, it forms the subtalar joint. This joint is essential for individuals walking on uneven ground.
Most injuries to the talus are the result of trauma, such as automobile accidents and falls.
The most common symptoms of talus fractures include:
Most fractures of the talus do require surgery to reset the bone and help minimize later complications. The surgeon realigns the broken bone with metal screws placed inside the bone. Any small fragments of bone discovered during this procedure will be removed and bone grafts will be used to help restore the shape of the joint.
After surgery, the patient will then be placed in a cast for approximately six to eight weeks. The patient will not be allowed to put any weight on the foot for at least two months. During healing, the physician may request X-rays to be done. This will reveal if the talus bone has a good blood supply. An MRI may be ordered to check the health of the bone. Patients will attend physical therapy to regain range of motion and strength in order to return to full function with activities of daily living.
Even if the bones heal well, arthritis may still develop. Since most of the talus is covered with cartilage, bones are allowed to move smoothly against each other. If the cartilage is damaged, the bones will be forced to rub against each other without that protection. This results in stiffness and pain. Treatment of arthritis includes activity modifications, ankle braces, and either ankle joint fusion or replacement.