What is a stress fracture of the talus?
The talus is the foot bone which joins with the leg to from the lower half of the ankle joint. A stress fracture of the talus is an incomplete fracture or crack within this bone. Physiotherapy is an excellent treatment for a stress fracture of the talus.
How does a stress fracture of the talus happen?
Stress fractures of the talus result from an imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption (removal). When the talus is loaded or stressed, such as during weight-bearing exercise, it responds by increasing its bone turnover. This is necessary for it to live up to your demands on it.
If stress is put on the talus, areas of the bone can become damaged. These damaged areas of bone are then resorped (removed) and replaced with new bone. If the new bone formation is slower than the resorption (removal) of the old bone, weak points occur at areas of stress within the talus. An area of weakness in the bone can develop into a stress fracture if the weak area of the talus is repeatedly stressed.
A recent change in training can often be a factor in the development of a stress fracture. This could involve a change in frequency, duration, intensity, training surfaces or footwear.
What are the symptoms of a stress fracture of the talus?
A stress fracture of the talus is causes an increasing amount of pain deep within the ankle joint over a period of weeks. Initially, the pain may only be present after exercise. With continued exercise the pain may reach a point where activities are too painful to perform and the inside of the ankle is sore during walking, rest and even at night. Other symptoms may include:
What should I do if I have a stress fracture of the talus?
If you have or suspect you have a stress fracture of the talus, you should call Physio.co.uk to arrange a physiotherapy appointment.
What shouldn’t I do if I have a stress fracture of the talus?
If you suspect that you have a stress fracture of the talus, you should not continue to exercise. The stress fracture is an area of weakness within the talus. If you continue to exercise you could cause a larger crack in the bone and potentially a complete bone fracture.
Could there be any long-term effects from a stress fracture of the talus?
A stress fracture of the talus does not produce any long-term effects if it is properly treated, and the cause identified and addressed. If this does not happen, you may be at risk of a larger crack, a complete bone fracture or further stress fractures when you return to exercise.
Physiotherapy treatment following a stress fracture of the talus.
Physiotherapy is important in the treatment of a stress fracture of the talus. Initially, your physiotherapist can provide you with a diagnosis. This may require the referral for imaging techniques such as a MRI scan. From this your physiotherapist can develop an appropriate treatment plan. This may initially involve a period of rest and the use of crutches and icing to help with your pain. A programme will be developed to allow you to maintain your cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength without delaying healing. This may involve low impact ‘cross training’, swimming, deep water running and cycling. Your physiotherapist may also be able to determine why you developed a stress fracture of the tibia in the first place and address this during your recovery to prevent a recurrence when you return to full activity. Other possible treatments include: