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Talus fractures

Scott M Koehler, MD
Section Editors
Patrice Eiff, MD
Chad A Asplund, MD, FACSM, MPH
Deputy Editor
Jonathan Grayzel, MD, FAAEM


The talus is composed of dense bone and significant force is required to cause a fracture. Thus, talus fractures are relatively uncommon, comprising less than 1 percent of all fractures [1]. However, when talus fractures do occur they are high risk injuries that often present difficulties in management, and therefore only a limited subset of fractures are amenable to treatment in the primary care setting [2].

The presentation and basic management of talus fractures is reviewed here. Other injuries in the ankle region are discussed separately. (See "Overview of ankle fractures in adults" and "Ankle sprain" and "Achilles tendinopathy and tendon rupture" and "Foot and ankle pain in the active child or skeletally immature adolescent: Evaluation".)


Talus fractures comprise approximately 0.1 to 0.85 percent of all fractures [1]. Most occur as a result of high-energy trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents [2]. As a result, talus fractures are often accompanied by other injuries, including dislocation of adjacent joints and fracture of neighboring bones [3].

There is an increased incidence of talus fracture among snowboarders due to the unique stress placed on the talus when landing from jumps on a snowboard. In snowboarders, 15 percent of ankle injuries involve fractures of the lateral process of the talus [4]. Snowboarders are therefore 17 times more likely to suffer a talus fracture compared to the general population [5]. (See 'Lateral process (snowboarder) fractures' below.)


The talus is involved in the transmission of force between the lower leg and the foot and bears the weight of the body, and thus it is composed of dense bone. The superior surface of the talus bears a greater load per unit area than any other bone [6].

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 14, 2017.
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