Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Careful diagnosis helps fracture patients put best foot forward

Date:
December 3, 2009
Source:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Summary:
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.

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 the 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 Muir Orthopaedic Specialists 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."

Foot and ankle injuries involving the talus (or peritalar region) often occur as a result of:

  • car accidents or other high-impact trauma; and
  • can also occur as a result of low-impact events, such as twists and falls.

When treatment of these injuries is significantly delayed, permanent disability can occur, and surgical intervention may be necessary to restore function.

Patients play a crucial role in aiding physicians during the diagnosis process, Dr. Kou added. Men and women who suffer an ankle injury should inform their physician about unusual or persistent symptoms, including:

  • persistent pain that is not improving;
  • the inability to bear weight; and
  • severe swelling, bruising, and blistering of the skin.

Patients should also be sure to give their treating physician a complete and accurate description of how the injury occurred, and should identify the area of the foot and ankle where the pain is most severe, two factors that can play a key role in helping a physician make the correct diagnosis in these uncommon injuries.

The difficulty in accurately diagnosing these injuries is due to two primary factors, Dr. Kou said.

"The foot has complex three-dimensional anatomy that can be difficult to fully assess on conventional two-dimensional radiographs, such as X-ray," he noted. "Also, while most foot and ankle injuries involve innocuous sprains, a small percentage of these injuries are significant. The rarity of these injuries results in frequent misdiagnosis."

"The key to proper diagnosis is, first and foremost, knowledge of the existence of these injuries," he noted. "Physicians also need to be aware of subtle radiographic clues that can indicate injury of the peritalar region."

By following these guidelines, the study authors say peritalar injuries can be identified and treated earlier, avoiding the need for surgery down the road.

"A delay in diagnosis can adversely affect the long-term outcome of the injury," Dr Kou noted. "Better knowledge and awareness of the existence of these talus injuries throughout the orthopaedic community will decrease the incidence of missed diagnosis, and significantly improve patient outcomes."

About the Talus

Located between the heel bone and the lower leg bones, the talus forms the lower part of the ankle joint and transmits the weight of the body to the foot during motion. The area surrounding the talus, known as the peritalar area, comprises four joints which are essential for proper motion. Fractures to these joints, or injury to the ligaments connecting them, can be especially difficult to detect.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Careful diagnosis helps fracture patients put best foot forward." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201100549.htm>.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2009, December 3). Careful diagnosis helps fracture patients put best foot forward. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201100549.htm
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Careful diagnosis helps fracture patients put best foot forward." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201100549.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins