Scientific Article   |    
Surgical Treatment of Talar Body Fractures
Heather A. Vallier, MD; Sean E. Nork, MD; Stephen K. Benirschke, MD; Bruce J. Sangeorzan, MD
View Disclosures and Other Information
Investigation performed at the Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington

Heather A. Vallier, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109. E-mail address: heathervallier@yahoo.com
Sean E. Nork, MD
Stephen K. Benirschke, MD
Bruce J. Sangeorzan, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harborview Medical Center, Box 359798, 325 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-2499

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2003 Sep 01;85(9):1716-1724
5 Recommendations (Recommend) | 3 Comments | Saved by 3 Users Save Case


Background: Fractures of the body of the talus are uncommon and poorly described. The purposes of the present study were to characterize these fractures, to describe one treatment approach, and to evaluate the clinical, radiographic, and functional outcomes of operative treatment.

Methods: Fifty-six patients with fifty-seven talar body fractures who had been treated operatively during a sixty-seven-month period at a level-1 trauma center were identified with use of a database. Twenty-three patients had a concomitant talar neck fracture. Eleven of the fifty-seven fractures were open. All patients underwent open reduction and internal fixation. Complications, secondary procedures, and the ability to return to work were evaluated at a minimum of one year. The radiographic presence of osteonecrosis and posttraumatic arthritis was ascertained. Foot Function Index and Musculoskeletal Function Assessment questionnaires were completed.

Results: Thirty-eight patients were evaluated after an average duration of follow-up of thirty-three months. Early complications occurred in eight patients. Ten of the twenty-six patients who had a complete set of radiographs had development of osteonecrosis of the talar body. Five of these ten patients experienced collapse of the talar dome at a mean of 10.2 months after surgery. All patients with a history of both an open fracture and osteonecrosis experienced collapse. Seventeen of twenty-six patients had posttraumatic arthritis of the tibiotalar joint, and nine of twenty-six had posttraumatic arthritis of the subtalar joint. Fractures of both the talar body and neck led to development of advanced arthritis more frequently than did fractures of the talar body only (p = 0.04). All patients with open fractures had end-stage posttraumatic arthritis (p = 0.053). Twenty-three (88%) of twenty-six patients had radiographic evidence of osteonecrosis and/or posttraumatic arthritis. Worse outcomes were noted in association with comminuted and open fractures. Osteonecrosis and posttraumatic arthritis adversely affected outcome scores.

Conclusions: Open reduction and internal fixation of talar body fractures may restore congruity of the adjacent joints. However, early complications are not infrequent, and most patients have development of radiographic evidence of osteonecrosis and/or posttraumatic arthritis. Associated talar neck fractures and open fractures more commonly result in osteonecrosis or advanced arthritis. Worse functional outcomes are seen in association with advanced posttraumatic arthritis and osteonecrosis that progresses to collapse. It is important to counsel patients regarding these devastating injuries and their poor prognosis and potential complications.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level IV (case series [no, or historical, control group]). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Figures in this Article
    Sign In to Your Personal ProfileSign In To Access Full Content
    Not a Subscriber?
    Get online access for 30 days for $35
    New to JBJS?
    Sign up for a full subscription to both the print and online editions
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities, to comment on public articles, or to sign up for alerts.
    Register for a FREE limited account to get full access to all CME activities
    Have a subscription to the print edition?
    Current subscribers to The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in either the print or quarterly DVD formats receive free online access to JBJS.org.
    Forgot your password?
    Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.

    Forgot your username or need assistance? Please contact customer service at subs@jbjs.org. If your access is provided
    by your institution, please contact you librarian or administrator for username and password information. Institutional
    administrators, to reset your institution's master username or password, please contact subs@jbjs.org


    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
    CME Activities Associated with This Article
    Submit a Comment
    Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
    Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discretion of JBJS editorial staff.

    * = Required Field
    (if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
    Example: John Doe

    Related Content
    The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
    JBJS Case Connector
    Topic Collections
    Related Audio and Videos
    PubMed Articles
    The treatment of complex fractures of the talus. Orthop Clin North Am 1989;20(4):691-707.
    Clinical Trials
    Readers of This Also Read...
    JBJS Jobs
    S. Carolina - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Medical Univerity of South Carlonina
    W. Virginia - Charleston Area Medical Center