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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2013 Nov;201(5):1087-92. doi: 10.2214/AJR.12.9918.

Update on talar fracture patterns: a large level I trauma center study.

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  • 11 All authors: Department of Radiology, University of Washington, 4245 Roosevelt Way, NE, Box 354755, Seattle, WA 98105.



Prior studies of talar fracture patterns are dated and based on radiography only. The purpose of our study was to describe talar fracture patterns and associated injuries in a modern large level 1 trauma center setting using both radiography and CT.


The radiolog and clinical data of patients with acute talar fractures diagnosed over an 18-month period were retrospectively reviewed. Data analysis included descriptive statistics for injury mechanisms and associated injuries.


Over the study period, a total of 132 talar fractures were detected in 122 patients. The most common talar fracture location was the body (61%). The most common body fractures were dome compression (26%), lateral process (24%), and posterior tubercle (21%). Of the 132 fractures, 62% were comminuted and 21 (16%) were vertical neck fractures compatible with the Hawkins-Canale classification. Both radiography and CT were used in 91% of cases, with CT providing additional information in 112 (93%) cases. By use of CT as the reference standard, the sensitivity of radiography for detecting talar fractures was 74%. The most common fracture missed by radiography was talar dome compression (31% not seen on radiography) Talar fractures were associated with adjacent joint subluxation or dislocation in more than 66% of the cases and adjacent fracture in more than 72% of the cases.


In our study, the most common site of talar fracture was the body. Current classification systems do not apply to most talar fractures. Talar fracture patterns cannot be characterized with radiography alone. CT is a critical tool for the detection and characterization of talar fractures. There is a high incidence of adjacent fracture and dislocation with acute traumatic talar fractures.

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