Careful Diagnosis Helps Fracture Patients Put Best Foot Forward

Early identification of foot injuries can help prevent need for surgical intervention

Located in areas of the foot that can be hard to visualize with X-rays and other imaging techniques, injuries to the ankle area of the foot are the most frequently misdiagnosed of all foot fractures. Delayed diagnosis can have serious consequences, sometimes leading to permanent disability.

A new review article published in the December 2009 issue of the Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) shows that a detailed description of the injury, recognition of subtle diagnostic imaging clues, and targeted physical exam can help avoid long-term injuries and disabilities that may occur as a result of these uncommon fractures.

The talus is a very important bone in the ankle, said study co-author Joseph Kou, M.D., attending surgeon at Golden State Orthopedics & Spine in Walnut Creek, Calif. Injury to the talus and its surrounding structures will significantly affect the function of the foot and ankle and can lead to long term disability if not treated properly.