The talus (TAY-lus) is a small bone that sits between the heel bone (calcaneus) and the two bones of the lower leg (tibia and fibula). It has an odd humped shape, somewhat like a turtle.
The bones of the lower leg "ride" on top and around the sides to form the ankle joint. Where the talus meets the bones of the foot, it forms the subtalar joint, which is important for walking on uneven ground.
The talus is an important connector between the foot and the leg and body, helping to transfer weight and pressure forces across the ankle joint.
CAUSES Most injuries to the talus result from motor vehicle accidents, although falls from heights also can injure the talus. These injuries are often associated with injuries to the lower back. An increasing number of talar fractures result from snowboarding, which uses a soft boot that is not rigid enough to prevent ankle injuries. DIAGNOSIS Dr. Smith will most likely order both an x-ray and a CT scan. The CT scan is useful in identifying a bone fragments that have migrated to other areas to determine if surgery is necessary. SYMPTOMS Talus fractures can cause acute pain, swelling and it may be painful to bear weight.
TREATMENT Splinting or casting the foot is almost always necessary. Because there is a high probability that bone fragments have migrated, surgery may be necessary. Having surgery will lessen complications down the road, such as arthritis, cartilage wear and tissue problems.