There is considerable debate regarding the appropriate treatment of the extruded talus regardless of the presence of a fracture. The purpose of this study was to report the clinical results, complications, and functional outcome following reimplantation of the traumatically extruded talus.

A database of 119 patients with an open injury of the talus occurring between 1995 and 2003 at a level-I trauma center was reviewed to identify patients with a complete talar extrusion. Demographic, imaging, and treatment data were obtained from a review of the medical records. Follow-up was undertaken during clinic visits or by telephone. Preoperative and follow-up radiographs were reviewed to identify posttraumatic arthritis, osteonecrosis, or talar collapse, and the Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment was used to assess functional outcome.

Twenty-seven patients were identified. A minimum follow-up of one year (average, forty-two months) was obtained for nineteen patients. Infection and the need for a secondary surgical procedure were the primary determinants of clinical outcome. Two of the nineteen patients had documented infections: one had developed at two weeks and one, after a calcaneal osteotomy at nineteen months. Twelve patients had no subsequent surgery, and seven had subsequent procedures (range, one to four procedures). No patient underwent a delayed amputation. The average Musculoskeletal Functional Assessment score at the time of follow-up was 29.8 (range, 5 to 59). With the numbers studied, no association was found between functional outcome and the following variables: ipsilateral lower-extremity injury, associated talar fracture, secondary procedures, osteonecrosis, or age.

While functional outcome is difficult to assess, salvage of the extruded talus appears to be a relatively safe operation, with a minimal risk of infection, which allows maximal flexibility in aftercare by preserving the most normal ankle anatomy possible.