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kuan's picture
Joined: Feb 9 2006
Posts: 27
Fractured talus - Long term recovery outlook?

I fractured my talus a few weeks back taking a fall rock climbing. I am wondering what the long-term recovery outlook is for this type of injury. I made the mistake of googling this, and it looks bleak. I read testimonials of people who couldn't even [I]walk[/I] without pain, let alone [I]run.[/I]

Has anyone out there had this injury? If so, how long until you were training again? What sort of specific problems did you experience during training. For example, did you experience tight ankles during swim kick, difficulty in clipping in and out of bike, or pain during run?

I've been pretty bummed out about the whole thing, and I'm quite worried about the long-term implications of this injury.


bigdogtwo's picture
Joined: Aug 22 2005
Posts: 130

Bummer. As I understand the problem with a fractured talus is that there is a risk of necrosis of the bone and cartlidge - that is what causes long-term problems.

I had a similar injury - I dislocated my ankle which resulted in damage to the cartlidge on my talus. I had two surgeries - one to repair the damaged cartlidge on the talus and then one to remove a bit of tibia and repair damaged ligaments and tendons in my ankle. My second surgery was Nov. of '04. What makes my injury similar is that the cartlidge damage I had results in similar symptoms to some talus fractures because the cartlidge and talus is no longer the same shape after the fracture.

Due to the damaged cartlidge I am never pain free - it like arthritis - the joint no longer works as smoothly or well as it used to. It is pretty painful when I wake up in the morning and after I sit for awhile. I don't have full range of motion in the joint but its pretty good.

My main problem this point is with running. My gait has changed and I still favor my injured ankle a bit. This keeps on resulting in hip problems for me. I have been to quite a bit of PT to try to overcome this problem - but no luck so far. Part of my problem now is that when I run I try to concentrate on having an even gait and I think that focusing on it so much may actually be making my gait even more uneven.

So, I concentrate on swimming and biking and do mostly stairmaster/elliptical/nordictrack for a proxy for running. Then a few weeks before a tri I run some. I find that I run okay in the triathlons. It is a bit frustrating because I know that if I could run regularly I could run faster - but oh well.

Who knows how your injury will turn out. You could be 100%. You may end up being 80%. Regardless, I would guess that swimming and biking will be no problem at all. You may have more luck with running than I have had, but I am getting by just fine - and most importantly - am still able to beat my two good friends at the tri's we do (I do mostly olympic distance).

I would advise that when you get back to working out that you increase the running mileage very gradually. That has been part of my problem - I am in great shape from swimming and biking and stairmaster so I do out and run too far to too soon. This winter I am experimenting with keeping my heart rate low and running 3 miles or less per run. Maybe that will keep me from developing hip problems. We'll see.

Riverbrady's picture
Joined: Jul 16 2004
Posts: 560

Sorry to hear about the talus :( ...my best wishes on recovery

I can't say much in regards to your recovery specifically, but what I can stress is a frame of mind. Make healing, mobility, following therapist's orders, and not overdoing things to try to heal too quickly, your training. I've seen too many people I know be so anxious to get back to training that they didn't make sure they were fully healed, or they didn't follow and do everything they were supposed to, and ended up never making it back to 100%.

kuan's picture
Joined: Feb 9 2006
Posts: 27

Thanks. I won't even be thinking about running for a couple of months, so now is a good time to focus on everything else. I did my first swim on Monday and felt great, actually. I couldn't use my feet to kick my way through the water, so I was forced to focus on "gliding" through the water as much as possible. Maybe being a gimp will be good for my form - at least in the pool!

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