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Foot Ankle Int. 2003 Aug;24(8):642-9.

Pseudo os trigonum sign: missed posteromedial talar facet fracture.

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Department of Orthopaedics, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.



Posteromedial talar facet fracture (PMTFF) is a rare injury, sparsely reported in the literature. This article proposes that PMTFF is often left undiagnosed by orthopaedic surgeons and suggests the routine application of advanced radiographic studies (i.e., CT scan) in the recognition of PMTFF. It also evaluates nonoperative management of PMTFF.


After obtaining Institutional Review Board approval, the medical records over a 5-year period (1997-2001) were retrospectively reviewed from the foot and ankle service of a level 1 trauma center, identifying all cases of PMTFF. Charts were reviewed for relevant data. Results of treatment were assessed during follow-up physical examination.


Six cases of PMTFF were identified over a 5-year period. All injuries were associated with medial subtalar joint dislocation. Four of six (66%) patients were not initially diagnosed with PMTFF, but instead misdiagnosed as an os trigonum. The remaining two patients had an established diagnosis of PMTFF at the time of initial treatment. All had short leg cast immobilization for medial subtalar dislocation. CT evaluation yielded additional diagnoses in all six patients. All six patients showed a PMTFF. Five patients (83%) revealed persistent subtalar joint subluxation. Five of six (83%) patients required at least one additional procedure as a result of an undiagnosed or nonoperatively treated PMTFF. Four patients underwent subtalar joint fusion, and one patient underwent tibiotalar calcaneal fusion secondary to concomitant ankle/subtalar arthritis. The patient who did not undergo recommended fusion continued to be symptomatic.


Diagnosis of PMTFF necessitates a heightened clinical suspicion, especially when a medial subtalar joint dislocation is present. Proper imaging studies, such as coronal CT scan, should be performed after any subtalar dislocation. Timely treatment, in the form of open reduction and internal fixation for large fragments involving the articular surface or surgical excision for smaller fragments, is recommended in order to restore proper anatomy and function of the subtalar joint. This study verifies the significant morbidity associated with an undiagnosed or nonoperatively treated PMTFF.

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