The talus is the bone that makes up the lower part of the ankle joint (tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg make up the upper part of the ankle joint).
The talus sits above the calcaneus (heel bone). Together, the talus and calcaneus form the subtalar joint, which is important for walking, especially on uneven ground.
The talus is the main connector between the foot and leg, helping to transfer weight and pressure forces across the ankle joint. It is largely covered by articular cartilage, the white lining surface that covers all joint surfaces. This cartilage allows the talus to move smoothly against its surrounding bones.
Talus fracture often occurs during a high-energy event, such as a car collision or a fall from height. As the talus is important for ankle movement, a fracture often results in significant loss of motion and function. Blood supply to talus can be compromised after injury and cause death of a segment of the bone. In addition talus fracture that does not heal properly can lead to serious complications, including chronic pain and for these reasons, many talus fractures require surgery.
Immediate first aid treatment for a talus fracture, as with any painful ankle injury, is to apply a well-padded splint around the back of the foot and leg from the toe to the upper calf to immobilize the limb and protect it. Elevating the foot above the level of the heart helps to minimize swelling and pain. Specific treatment depends upon the severity and the type of fracture, so it is important to seek immediate medical attention.