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Talus fracture and partial displacement, healing advice and support

Mike Watson · · SoCal · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 45
Loren Leeuw wrote: Has anyone tried using the Exosym?
I’m trying to think of ways to get my life back. 

http://www.hangerclinic.com/bracing-support/adult-le/Pages/Limb-Salvage-ExoSym.aspx


Mike Watson · · SoCal · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 45

I've had one for a couple years now.  I have severe post traumatic osteoarthritis in my subtalar joint and near zero motion in my ankle.  Hiking/walking hurts like a b1tch.  That said, I just finished an 8 day backpack in the sierra.  let me know if you have specific questions about it.

Blakevan · · Dallas, TX · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 55

It’s been almost six months and I can do somethings that are fun so for those that are just starting their recovery keep a positive outlook  

Lzpup Brewster · · santee, ca · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 35
Loren Leeuw wrote: May 31st I broke my Talus in 3 pieces from a 10ft fall. Had surgery the morning of June 1st. Surgeon said the surgery went well but that this a horrible life changing injury. Mine was classified as a Hawkins 2 fracture.
I'm finding it really hard to stay positive with all the negative outcomes that i'm reading about.
Mt Biking and long distance backpacking as been my whole life. Now i'm being told that will no longer be a part of my life.
Is there anyone on here that has any long term results? 

Hello Loren,


Hang in there, I had a Talas fracture that went untreated due to poor diagnosis, I am back to climbing and biking. I make sure to use lots of support for my ankle, mountain boots when I can, and I use a brace for biking. I finished the 200 Mile Dirty Kanza bike race last year. I think it has been about 5 years for me.
Morna Baillie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0

Hi friends,

I am 7.5 weeks post-op from a fractured talar neck. No exciting story, I was topping out a boulder and I fell and missed the mat. Had surgery to put it back together same day and from what I am continuously told from xrays is it was put back together well.

Because it's early days I still don't know my risk of avn but as someone whose whole life is climbing and mountaineering I'm hoping for good news. Doctor told me that it would be a year before it would be as strong as it was, and that I shouldn't climb till then but I'm going to find a sports physio who can hopefully give me a more accurate view of my limitations within these areas. (Hopefully I can do short hikes/ top roping/ traversing at a boulder wall etc etc sooner than next july!)

Reading all these stories is giving me hope, I know its going to be a long road to recovery which I'm fine with, just as long as I get there. I have a scan in 6 weeks to determine my risk of avn.

I was given the go ahead to weight bear/walk a wee bit yesterday so I have started hobbling about the house, certainly feels strange relying on it again and even weirder walking in a moon boot which prevents range of motion but it is still very very early days. My range of motion is getting back to similar to my good foot in terms of towards and away from my shin, but still pretty poor side to side. I'm doing ankle rotations everyday to improve it.

I don't care how long my recovery takes as long as I can get back to trad, hiking and winter climbing eventually. I am 21 years old and not ready to end my climbing career just yet.

Tiffany Richard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

I came across this thread looking for information on the recovery process. I'm 8weeks out of surgery with 2 screws. I fractured my talus vertical with some displacement and had a few chipped bone fragments removed. I'm having some concerns with the pain I'm having and was wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

When I injured my ankle it felt like my foot wasn't attached to my leg. After surgery I noticed early on that the top outer side of my ankle had alot of pain. That pain has not improved at all. I have a very unstable feeling when there's no support on it. The best way to describe it is, it feels like it's dislocated. I have no control over my ankle movement. It kinda hangs there at least that's the feeling. I'm also having sharp pain in my heel. It intensifies when I rest my foot on a flat surface. I have 4 more weeks till my CT scan to see if I can put weight on it. Has anyone else experienced this feeling? I'm wondering if its normal or if something isn't aligned right.

These are the x-ray done by the hospital.


Tiffany Richard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

These x-rays are two week post-op.



Blakevan · · Dallas, TX · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 55

I can't speak medically to your condition but I had a lot of weird pains and wonky movement until about the five month mark.  I would suggest you schedule an apt with your MD and discuss your concerns.  Hang in there it will get better even if it doesn't feel that way right now.

Paul Hutton · · Kansas City, MO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740
Paul Hutton wrote:

Just did this number a few days ago. My first ankle fracture, so, no wisdom for ya! But, I've had many injuries in the past that involves fractures in other places. I've never really had such a bad recovery that I haven't been able to move as well as I wanted, or get as strong as what I worked for. The human body can accomplish so much! Tenacity is key!

Just now realizing that 6 months have elapsed as of 9-03. I've been climbing around on silly things lately. Still not quite confident enough to go throwing friction stems and drop knees at the local gym. My Achilles tendon shows calcification in x-rays--the doc said it can possibly rupture if I work it too hard. Can't support my whole body weight on my toes when going up stairs. I'm very antsy to tie in and get some exposure, and I love having the fire for this still! I've been climbing since 2011 and have accomplished so many different things on the rock, and climbing has influenced my personal conduct and decision making in great ways over the years! I hope to make an epic comeback, but more importantly, enjoy the experience as more than just getting really strong. To take a step back when I'm rushing to take action on something I'm super psyched on. Preparation is key. I was practicing jumaring on an I-beam in a warehouse a few days ago, and was constantly thinking about my accident. I was very present in what I was doing and executed everything and kept my cool perfectly! Hope this helps others that are struggling stay positive and stay on track!

Courtney Hedrick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 50
Tiffany Richard wrote: I came across this thread looking for information on the recovery process. I'm 8weeks out of surgery with 2 screws. I fractured my talus vertical with some displacement and had a few chipped bone fragments removed. I'm having some concerns with the pain I'm having and was wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

When I injured my ankle it felt like my foot wasn't attached to my leg. After surgery I noticed early on that the top outer side of my ankle had alot of pain. That pain has not improved at all. I have a very unstable feeling when there's no support on it. The best way to describe it is, it feels like it's dislocated. I have no control over my ankle movement. It kinda hangs there at least that's the feeling. I'm also having sharp pain in my heel. It intensifies when I rest my foot on a flat surface. I have 4 more weeks till my CT scan to see if I can put weight on it. Has anyone else experienced this feeling? I'm wondering if its normal or if something isn't aligned right.

These are the x-ray done by the hospital.



Tiffany, sounds a lot like my post op course.  I had a subtalar dislocation, talar dome and calcaneus fracture fixed with 3 screws after a lead fall back in May.  During my 6 weeks of non-weight bearing, my ankle movements were awkward and my calf and foot ached like crazy.  My doc said the awkward movements/pain had to do with muscle atrophy and inflammation, and persisted until these last few weeks as my muscles have rebuilt.  I’m currently dealing with some plantar fasciitis due to over training, but i’m back in the gym climbing and leading easy stuff.  Again talk to your doctor about what you’re going through, they might want to get an x-ray to verify placement.  Best of luck and hang in there!

Blakevan · · Dallas, TX · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 55

I made it to the top of the Flat Irons this weekend via the trail!  It's been a very long road to recovery and I still have issues but at least I can get out and do my soul some good.  It felt great to be outside and just watching people on the face had me excited to climb again.

Sparky Steeves · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2019 · Points: 0

Thanks Sarah and everyone. I just broke my talus bone climbing (lead fall, hit a ledge) in far away Turkey three weeks ago. I had emergency surgery that day and a week in hospital with IV antibiotics (open fracture). We are back home in BC now and reality is setting in. I was just fishing for recovery times and outcomes and it helps to have some realistic recovery goals. My fall cut short our one year family climbing trip only four months in. We were having so much fun and I feel guilty to have f*%$#^d it up for my wife and son. I am trying to get motivated to get some exercise and get the blood flowing but the couch is feeling too good. Just patiently trying to see where this bump in the road will take me. Right now I am gonna pick up my guitar. Heal well warriors. Spark

Ben Eppley · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2019 · Points: 0
Sparky Steeves wrote: Thanks Sarah and everyone. I just broke my talus bone climbing (lead fall, hit a ledge) in far away Turkey three weeks ago. I had emergency surgery that day and a week in hospital with IV antibiotics (open fracture). We are back home in BC now and reality is setting in. I was just fishing for recovery times and outcomes and it helps to have some realistic recovery goals. My fall cut short our one year family climbing trip only four months in. We were having so much fun and I feel guilty to have f*%$#^d it up for my wife and son. I am trying to get motivated to get some exercise and get the blood flowing but the couch is feeling too good. Just patiently trying to see where this bump in the road will take me. Right now I am gonna pick up my guitar. Heal well warriors. Spark

Really sorry to hear about the bad luck Steve.  The good news is I think you could pick the trip up where you left off next year, depending on how motivated you can stay with training!  The couch feels good, but be wary that every day you arent weight bearing, your leg and ankle are going to start to degrade.  As someone who just hit the 7 month post op mark, I wish I had been more motivated to train anything else I possibly could while I waited to heal.  Im pretty behind the ball now, and just getting back to top roping 5.8 in the gym where I was leading 5.11 prior to my injury (shattered talar neck snowboarding 03/19)  Over compensate as much as you can with core and upper body training, because it will be pretty much all you have when you get back.


Bone supplements seemed to help me, as well as dry needling and accupuncture, so recommend that for swelling and inflammation.  Otherwise, keep your family informed, keep planning for next year, and you will be ready to go next season.  Hopefully you had a good surgeon/surgery, and just make sure to hit the PT as hard as you can pjhysically tolerate.  Dont waste time getting ahead of mobility and reducing the scar tissue as much as you can. I think you can safely assume 6 months to full heal, at which point you should be able to trust the bone to be as strong as it would have before.  Im not sure if there is more pevelancy to re-injure it if youve already done so once, but my x-rays all show a full heal, with no signs of weakeness.  I just got back to bouldering and am getting confident with 5-6 foot drops right now, just working it back up to 15's.  But, as far as I can tell, as long as I dont impact it again in a way that would break the bone anyway, Im not going to re break it just by landing, etc.

Good luck!
Nathan Stone · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2019 · Points: 0

Hey guys, wanted to share my story and hope it helps.
September 15th I was in a car accident, I fell asleep while on my way home from work. I wasnt found till the next day and then taken to the ER. I had shattered my talus and needed surgery.
September 17th (also my 29th birthday) at 5 am I was prepped for surgery and going to get 7 screws and 2 plates put into my right ankle. I had spent the day before talking to doctors, hearing how I would not be able to walk the way i always have, and how it would take years to heal.
I was in surgery for most of the day, and waking up was a challenge. I learned how to walk on crutches, and was sent home. I only remember 3 days at the hospital but my mom says I was there for over a week.
I got home, and for a the first few days I stayed on the couch and thought about all the things that I wouldn't be able to do again. A week after getting home I started to noce my toes as much as I could, and moving my ankle in the cast.
My first month appointment I got put in a walking boot, it was hard seeing all the staples in my ankle and the incision. I knew I would walk again and I made a plan. After I got home I regularly took my boot off to move my ankle as much as I could, just not to the point that it hurt. By the 2nd month I had pushed my self to the point that I was walking without crutches.
By the 3rd month check up came I was walking in regular shoes.
I know this is extremely rare, but when I was healing I read stories of how long it took others to heal and I wanted to share mine.
Work on it!! Keep pushing, it will get stronger, I couldn't even walk a year ago and today I went on a 12 mile hike and climb with no pain. Only time it hurts is in the morning and when the weather changes.
Stay focused and work!!! It really does pay off :)

Jackie Thornhill · · Halifax, NS · Joined 16 days ago · Points: 0

I am 4 months post injury.  I fell backwards off a curb and somehow ended up with a subtalor dislocation and a fractured talus.  Had a few procedures including a bunch of metal put in and was in the hospital for 9 days followed by 6 weeks non weight bearing.  Lots of worry about compartment syndrome, blood clots and infections but none materialized.  I started PT Oct 12 and was completely unable to walk.  Pain was unbearable and my foot had no feeling in it.  Within 6 weeks I was back to work, still using a cane.  And about three weeks ago I stopped using the cane.  It hurts on rocky terrain, better with certain shoes than others and walking barefoot is awful.  Hang in there, it's a complex injury and the healing process is tough.

Morna Baillie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0

Hi guys,

I'm now six months post op (I shattered my ankle after I missed the pad bouldering and had a lot of fragments of the centre of my talus removed, dislocation fixed with two pins). The ankle's a bit bigger than the good one but not by a huge margin.
My range of motion is almost as good as it was, except inwards (attempting to get the soles of each foot to touch). I've been top roping for 5 or so weeks and just been given the clearance to do steep leading with safe/small fall potential. No bouldering for a few more months I think. And I think it's for the best I avoid trad for the minute. 

I've also been cleared to hike but I find on very uneven terrain is too difficult for it at the moment because I can barely walk on it after an 8 or so mile hike. I think it just needs the practice to the uneven trails though. I can't run or jump on one foot yet but I think it's coming soon.

It's very exciting to feel like I'm on the way back to normal :)

Mark Rando · · Colorado · Joined Apr 2019 · Points: 0

Been watching this thread for the past few weeks and figured I’d jump on in.
Currently 4 weeks post injury and 2.5 weeks post op for talar neck fracture and dislocated subtalar joint.  Docs never told me my classification but after researching it looks like a Hawkins II as the tibiotalar joint stayed intact.
My injury was from snowboarding but not the typical hard landing from a jump; I was riding in the trees when I slid out on some logs under the snow.  Unfortunately I slid feet first into a tree, taking most of the impact on my right foot.  My left binding snapped clean off the board while my right stayed strapped in so there was some twisting involved as well. Pain was sharp at the time of injury but not excruciating.  After getting a sleigh ride down the mountain from ski patrol they removed my boot which hurt a lot but same as the initial impact, it subsided shortly after. Don’t get me wrong it still hurt, but it wasn’t unbearable.
Went to an urgent care for X-rays that evening and was told it “looked broken” but they couldn’t be certain. Had a follow up with an ortho PA the following day who said it was definitely broken and ordered a CT scan to better see the damage. CT came back worse than expected and after meeting with the surgeon surgery was scheduled for the day after Christmas. 
The surgery went well from all accounts. 6 screws, 1 plate and almost 3 hours later I was sent home in a hefty splint.  They we’re anticipating having to do a bone graft with cadaver bone but didn’t end up needing to, so that’s a positive. I opted for the nerve block ahead of surgery which kept my entire leg numb from the knee down for about 24 hours after surgery.  This helped me get home, comfortable in bed, and get some food in me before the worst came. About 30 hours after surgery the nerve block began to wear off and pretty quickly. For the next 12 hours it felt as if someone was steamrolling my ankle, but once I got the meds ahead of the pain it almost totally stopped.  I took small oxys (5mg) for maybe 3-4 days, then Tylenol for another few days after that. I haven’t needed any pain meds for a least a week and a half. I have been told throughout this that I have a very high threshold for pain so don’t be alarmed if you’re hurting worse or longer than I was post op. I did almost fall over one day maybe 3 days post op and instinctively put a bit of weight on my foot. It actually didn’t hurt at all but was very alarming and worrying. 
At 1 week post op they removed my splint, took another round of X-rays, which looked very good, and put me in a hard cast.
At 2 weeks post op they removed the first cast, and removed all the staples from my incisions (one down the right side and one on the left but more centered).  That didn’t feel great but being put back in a cast without the staples to push into my skin was much better than before. I didn’t count but I had at least 10 staples on each side, likely more on the outside where the incision is longer.
I still have some swelling in the ankle area as well as the foot; I fractured my cuboid as well so the foot swelling makes sense.  I have all feeling back in my foot except the tops of my 4th and pinky toes and a bit of the top of the foot in that same general area.  This is likely due to either the swelling near my cuboid or damaged nerves from the surgery.  Pre op I had full feeling in my entire foot so this makes me think nerve damage, which my ortho think will resolve in time. 
And so here I sit playing the waiting game, which is arguable the hardest part. Unanswered questions, uncertain timelines, tons of pow that I can only dream about riding; but I’ve become very focused on doing whatever is needed to achieve maximum recovery. I have begun an anti inflammatory diet, cutting out booze, red meat, fried foods, and limiting bread, cheese, and anything processed.  In the 4 weeks I’ve been non weight bearing I’ve actually lost weight so the diet is working in that regard at least. This week I started back in the gym with mainly upper body and non weight bearing strengthening exercises for my bad leg to try and retain any muscle I can (leg lifts in all directions, and some glute work). One bit of cardio I have found is single leg rowing. I put my right foot up on an exercise ball and row with my left foot only.  Short spurts of 1000m is enough to get the heart pumping without spending too much time with my right leg straight (begins to tire the hip flexor if done for too long).  My gym also has a SkiRG which I can do seated for some extra cardio if needed. Getting back moving around even in my limited ways feels very good both physically and mentally.  
Mobility wise, I have the full arsenal. For about 4 days post op I was relegated to crutches only.  I wasn’t moving around much at that point anyway so it wasn’t too bad.  Was cleared to use to knee scooter (conservatively) after that. And after about 1 week I was using my iWalk pretty regularly (almost exclusively now). The iWalk is really a godsend for me; being able to use my hands to carry things is a game changer especially around the house (laundry, cooking, dishes, etc.) and using my right leg when walking with it helps keep some muscles in my quad and glute. 
I got my injury snowboarding and that’s no coincidence.  Pre injury I was a very heavy rider. In 2019 I snowboarded every month of the year and since moving to Colorado 5 years ago there hasn’t been a winter season under 35 ski days for me. Last season I began splitboarding and riding backcountry which was a revelation for me. I’ve never been so happy walking up a hill in snow, seeing remote areas of mountains I’ve never laid eyes on before; the untouched ride down helps with motivation a bit :) Summers are usually filled with hiking backpacking and fishing alpine lakes and streams above 10k so my mobility and stamina are probably the 2 physical attributes most important to me.  
Thus, I am very worried that this all could be taken away from me.  After reading countless experience stories and researching way more than I should, I feel like the positive outcomes are more abundant than the negatives, but I still worry that I may never be able to skin up a mountain, ride down, hike 10 miles up 3000’ elevation gain to reach my hidden cutthroat lakes, or enjoy backpacking like I used to.  In fact, so much of who I am (or was) is wrapped up in those activities that I’ve had a really rough time being grounded the past month. While scary and downright depressing at times, this undoubtedly fuels my focus and determination to put all I have into my recovery.  
The ortho PA who has been managing my post op treatment seems incredibly positive; says my talus fix and joint reduction both look very good; when I ask about AVN she nearly scoffs and says I’m young (31) and have great blood supply and that I shouldn’t worry about it; and seems very hopeful that at my 6 week follow up appointment I will be put in a walking boot and cleared for at least some weight bearing.  Part of me wants to believe her totally, while another part of me is skeptical and will “believe it when I see it” or don’t see it in the case of AVN.  
So that’s my story up to this point. Fingers crossed for a smooth road going forward. I know I’m still just starting down this long road that is talus recovery but hoping that improvements will continue to come with the effort, focus, and determination put towards it.

Artem Vasilyev · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 105
Ben Martinez wrote:

 Some pics attached. Hope it's not too gory for you.

BEN

Holy fucking shit! Pardon my french, but holy fucking shit! 

Are you okay!?
donaldm · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 0

I had the same talus fracture and 6 weeks after plate and screws installed started a month of PT and then climbing...was physically weak but after a couple months it was as if I’d never had the accident (other than I was a bit more careful) and strong as ever...I’ve never felt any doubt of the strength of the fix...

Mark Rando · · Colorado · Joined Apr 2019 · Points: 0
donaldm wrote: I had the same talus fracture and 6 weeks after plate and screws installed started a month of PT and then climbing...was physically weak but after a couple months it was as if I’d never had the accident (other than I was a bit more careful) and strong as ever...I’ve never felt any doubt of the strength of the fix...

I wana be like you Donald!! Fingers crossed for a similar experience. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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