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Talar Fracture In Adults


What is a talar fracture?

A talar fracture is a break in the talus bone of your foot. The talus bone is a square, flat bone on top of the calcaneus (heel bone). It connects the calcaneus with the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones) to form the ankle.

What causes a talar fracture?

A sudden, forceful sideways bending of your ankle or foot may cause a talar fracture. This may occur because of a fall or a direct blow to the ankle. Professional ballet dancers, soccer players, and runners may be at a higher risk for this kind of fracture.

What are the signs and symptoms of a talar fracture?

  • Pain, tenderness, or swelling
  • Bruising or warm skin
  • Trouble moving your ankle or foot
  • Inability to put weight on your ankle or foot
  • Ankle bones look out of place

How is a talar fracture diagnosed?

  • X-ray: You may need more than 1 x-ray to see different parts of your talus bone.
  • CT scan: This test is also called a CAT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your ankle. The pictures may show your fracture or other tissue damage. You may be given a dye before the pictures are taken to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your ankle. An MRI may show tissue or ligament damage. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Bone scan: This is a test to look at the bones in your ankle. The bone scan may show a fracture or infection. You will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in your arm. The tracer collects in your bones. Pictures will then be taken to look for problems.
  • Arthroscopy: Your healthcare provider may want to look inside your ankle to check for signs of fracture or injury. A small incision is made in your ankle and a scope is inserted. A scope is a flexible tube with a light and camera on the end.

How is a talar fracture treated?

  • Support devices: Support devices include casts and removable boots. These devices prevent ankle movement and help your talar fracture heal. A support device may be the only treatment you need. You may also need crutches to help you move around.
  • Medicine:
    • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
    • Antibiotics: You may need antibiotics if you have an open wound. This medicine helps fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
    • Td vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent tetanus and diphtheria. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery if you have a large fracture or your bones are out of place. You may also need surgery if your bones are broken into many pieces or other treatments have not worked. You may need wires, pins, metal plates, or screws to hold the pieces while your ankle heals.

What are the risks of a talar fracture?

  • You can get an infection or bleed more than expected after surgery. Your ankle may not look like it did before your injury. Your symptoms may not go away completely. A cast can cause discomfort and trouble walking. You may get a blood clot in your leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.
  • Without treatment, a talar fracture can cause problems with walking and activities, including sports. You may get an infection if you have an open wound. You may also have decreased blood supply to the injured area. This can cause tissue death and lead to amputation.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have new blood stains or a bad smell coming from under your cast.
  • You have increased pain or swelling, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have severe pain.
  • Your cast breaks or gets damaged.
  • Your toes are numb, swollen, cold, or pale.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.