Dislocations of the Talus

dislocationtalusA dislocation of the talus can be a total dislocation or a subtalar dislocation. There are two different main types of dislocations, total and subtalar. Subtalar dislocations are further categorized into lateral and medial dislocations.

A total dislocation of the talus that is not accompanied by a fracture is a very rare injury. Most of the injuries are open and urgent care is necessary totalin order to avoid any soft tissue complications. There is a high risk of avascular necrosis of the talus, as well as arthritis and soft tissue infection.

Subtalar dislocations of the talus are rare injuries that result from either excessive supination or from excessive pronation. It involves a simultaneous dislocation of the distal articulations of the talus at the talocalcaneal and talonavicular joints. A lateral subtalar dislocation is often the result of a high energy trauma. These dislocations have a worse long-term prognosis. Irreducible lateral dislocation due to interposed tibialis posterior tendon. Lateral subtalar dislocations can be unstable and may sublux. The physician may need a CT scan to check for fractures. 85% of the dislocations are medial and subtalaroften result from low energy trauma. Irreducible medial dislocations can be due to the interposed extensor digitorum brevis or extensor retinaculum. The direction of subtalar dislocation has important effects with respect to management and outcome. Complications of subtalar dislocations may include stiffness and subtalar arthritis.


Stable dislocations will be treated with a closed reduction. The patient should have 3-4 weeks of immobilization, followed by physical therapy. Unstable fractures will require a closed reduction; an internal fixation may be required. An anteromedial incision is used for medial dislocations and a lateral approach is used for lateral dislocations.



Common Foot Conditions and Injections


Conditions which cause pain and inflammation are treatable with the use of diagnostic and therapeutic injections. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on common ankle and foot conditions that may require injections and where the proper sites to perform these injections are located.


Ankle Joint

The ankle joint is formed by articulation of the tibia and talus. Injections are performed here to alleviate pain occurring from trauma, arthritis, gout, or other ankleeeeinflammatory conditions. Anterolateral Ankle Impingement can occur due to the build-up of scar tissue in the ankle joint or from the presence of bony spurs. When executing an injection here, the ankle will need to be in a neutral position. The physician will mark the injection site just above the talus and medial to the tibialis anterior tendon. The injection site should be disinfected with betadine. Then, the needle is inserted into the identified site and directed posterolaterally. The solution is injected into the joint space and should flow smoothly without resistance. It may be helpful to pull on the foot in order to distract the ankle joint.

First Metatarsophalangeal Joint

The MTP joint is a common injection site frequently affected by gout and firstmetaosteoarthritis. The injection site is first disinfected with betadine and then the needle is inserted on the dorsomedial or dorsolateral surface. The needle is angled at 60-70° of the plane to match the slope of the joint. The solution is injected into the joint space and should flow smoothly without resistance. Pulling on the big toe is sometimes helpful in distracting the joint.


Peroneal Tendonitis

Peroneal Tendonitis is an irritation to the tendons that run on the outside area of the ankle, the peroneus longus and peroneus brevis. First, the injection site is disinfected with betadine. Then, the needle should be carefully inserted in a proximal direction when injecting the peroneus brevis and longus tendon sheath. The needle will need to advance distally to inject the peroneus brevis alone at its bony insertion.


Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles Tendonitis is an irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of the ankle. Achilles tendonitis is a common overuse injury that occurs in athletes. needlingInjections of steroids should be given around the tendon, not through the tendon. The injections inserted directly into the tendon is not recommended due to the increased risk of tendon rupture. A platelet injection can be done through the tendon with needling and fenestration.


Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition of pain and paresthesia caused by irritation to the posterior tibial nerve. When performing an injection for this condition, the tarsal tunnelphysician will want to feel the pulse of the posterior tibial artery. The nerve is posterior and the physician will want to find the area of maximum tenderness. The injection site should be 1-2cm above the tender area, which is marked on the medial side of the foot and disinfected with betadine. The solution is injected at a 30° angle and directed distally. It is important to inform the patient that the foot may become numb and that care should be taken when walking and driving. Injections for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome are usually performed after a treatment program which can include rest stretching and the use of shoe inserts.


Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue deep to the fat pad on the plantar aspect of the foot. Patients with plantar fasciitis complain of chronic pain symptoms that are often worse in the morning with walking. The injection site is identified and marked on the medial side of the foot and betadine is used as a disinfectant. The physician will need to avoid injecting through the fat pad at the bottom of the foot to avoid fat atrophy. The needle is inserted in a medial to lateral direction one finger breath above the sole of the foot, in a line that corresponds to the posterior aspect of the tibia. The solution is injected past the midline of the width of the foot.plantar


Haemarthrosis of the Knee

Hemarthrosis is blood inside the knee or bleeding into the knee joint space. The swelling and fluid inside the knee joint is usually relieved with an aspiration. During the aspiration, the physician will insert the needle on the lateral side of the knee, just above the upper border of the patella. The needle enters below the patella into the suprapatellar bursa which is continuous with the joint cavity. This aspiration technique is different than how physicians perform injections. For a knee injection, the needle is inserted at the lower border of the patella on either side of the patellar tendon at the soft spot.

aspiration v inspirationThe color of the fluid aspirated—not bloody effusion—is probably due to synovial irritation caused by chronic processes such as gout, pseudogout, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or degenerative meniscus. A degenerated meniscus may be associated with swelling and fluid collection; usually not bloody. The peripheral portion of the meniscus is vascular (about 3-5 mm). The blood supply of the meniscus originates from the medial and lateral genicular arteries. Although a degenerative meniscus effusion is not bloody, a traumatic tear of the meniscus may cause bleeding inside the knee joint.

arthrA bloody effusion could be trauma related or non-trauma related. For example, hemarthrosis can be caused by trauma or injury to the structures of the knee such as the ACL, PCL, or meniscus. Hemarthrosis can also occur due to tibial plateau fractures, chondral fractures, patellar dislocations, or a meniscal tear. Non-traumatic conditions that can cause hemarthrosis include: PVNS, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, anticoagulation, or hemorrhage following total knee replacement.

Hemoarthrosis from trauma or injury indicates a significant knee injury such as ACL (75-80%) or a meniscal tear. If aspirations of the knee after trauma shows hemarthrosis, early evaluation of the injury may be necessary to define the extent of damage. The physician may get an MRI early.

meniscusAbsence of hemarthrosis does not mean a less severe ligament injury—the blood may escape without distending the capsule. A severe injury may cause minimal or severe joint effusion. More than 20cc of fluid may affect the quadriceps function and prevent full extension of the knee. A hematoma should be evacuated. The bloody aspirate should be examined for fat to rule out a fracture. The aspirate may vary in color depending on the severity of the injury and the duration of the symptoms. Fat is less dense than blood and fat floats on the surface, whereas blood is heavier and stays on the bottom.

mri.The presence of a fat/fluid level is diagnostic of a fracture even if a fracture is not seen on an x-ray (occult). Fat/fluid level is usually seen with tibial plateau, chondral, and patellar fractures. The cross table lateral view of the knee shows it well. When a fat/fluid level is seen, look for intra-articular fractures. Lipohemarthrosis is only seen on horizontal x-ray beams with the beam parallel to the floor. It occurs in 40% of all fractures inside the joint.



Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone strength. The strength of the bone depends on mineral density and bone quality. Osteoporotic bone is at risk of fracture at the hip, wrist and spine.


If fracture of the vertebral spine occurs, the patient will have a fivefold increased risk for having a second vertebral fracture or hip fracture. A second vertebral fracture means you may have more compression fractures in the future.

With one hip fracture, there will be a tenfold increase of another hip fracture occurring. Men with hip fractures have a higher mortality rate than women.

Lifetime risk of fractures of the hip, spine and wrist is 40 %. The decrease of bone strength and bone mass clearly predicts fracture risk.


Osteoporosis affects 45% of women aged 50 or older. There is some correlation between osteoporotic fracture and risk of death. This is logical since 25% of patients with hip fracture die within one year. The lifetime risk is high with senile osteoporosis. There are about million osteoporosis related fractures that occur per year.

Men and women both begin to start “spending” or losing bone at a certain point in their lives. Banking or building up of bone during youth has benefits during the later years. Most individuals obtain their peak bone mass between ages of 16 and 25 years. Men begin to lose bone mass after the age of 25 years at a rate of 0.3% per year. Women begin to lose bone at a rate of 0.5% per year. After menopause there is an accelerated rate of bone loss at the rate of 2-3% of total bone loss per year for about 10 years.


Osteoporosis has bone mineralization but abnormal osteoclast function. There are two types of osteoporosis:

  1. Type I: postmenopausal which occurs 15-20 years after menopause. It has increased risk of vertebral and wrist fractures. It is due to estrogen deficiency.
  2. Type II: senile which occurs in men and women over the age of 70 years. Vertebral and hip fractures are a risk. It occurs more in females than males with a ratio 2:1. It is due to aging and long term calcium deficiency.

20-25% of elderly patients could die within one year suffering of a hip fracture.

osteoporosis4.pngRisk factors for osteoporosis include: thin, north European descent, people who live sedentary lifestyles, smoker and drinkers, and anti-seizure medications as phenytoin (Dilantin) and phenobarbital.

The bone mineral density is measured by T- score which is relative to normal age, young, matched control (25 year old women) and Z-score which is relative to similar aged patients.

How is osteoporosis measured? It is measured by DEXA scan at the hip through the T –score. DEXA scan is important in predicting fracture risk.osteoporosis5.png

Lab findings as albumin, calcium, phosphate, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone and bone specific alkaline phosphatase are usually normal.

Vitamin D levels are low in about 70 % of patients with fracture. Vitamin D absorbs calcium from the intestines. With aging, the stomach acidity decreases and the calcium absorption decreases and vitamin D requirements increase. Elderly need more vitamins D to absorb the same amount of calcium.

Treatment of osteoporosis include: bisphosphonates, Denosumab and calcitonin. Bone stimulation can be achieved by parathyroid hormone, calcium and vitamin D.

When to initiate therapy? If T-score is less than -2 with no risk factors, if T-score is less than -1.5 with at least one risk factor as prior vertebral fracture or hip fracture.

What decides if you develop osteoporosis or not? Your savings: you can control this by adding more bone when you are young before the age of 25 years. You begin spending your bone after 25 years.