Avascular necrosis talus
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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The talus is a bone that participates as part of two ankle joints.
It connects the leg (tibia) to the foot and is responsible for the upward and downward movement (dorsiflexion and plantarflexion) of the ankle. This joint is called the tibial-talar joint.
It sits on top of the heel bone (calcaneus) where it is responsible for the majority of the inward and outward movement (inversion and eversion) of the foot. This is called the subtalar joint.
Disorders of the talus can affect both the tibial-talar ankle joint and the subtalar ankle joint. This means that multiple planes of movement of the foot and ankle can be altered. The major injury that can affect the talus is a fracture. This is an injury that most often leads to avascular necrosis.
The goal of treating fractures of the talus is to maintain movement of the ankle and subtalar joints and restore normal anatomic relationships in order to prevent the development of arthritis.
In addition to arthritis, another condition that can cause damage to the talus after fracture is loss of blood supply to the bone – a condition called avascular necrosis (AVN) of the talus.
Avascular necrosis of the talus can be a devastating problem leading to total loss of the ankle joint with arthritis, deformity and pain.
When the talus dislocates from the ankle joint, the incidence of AVN approaches 100%.
Treatment is discussed on another page.
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