Does a Longer Delay in Fixation of Talus Fractures Cause Osteonecrosis?


This retrospective study investigated active duty soldiers with delayed definitive fixation of combatrelated talus fractures. The authors predicted a longer delay to internal fixation and a correlation between the timing of fixation and development of osteonecrosis and posttraumatic arthritis. The Joint Theater Trauma Registry was queried by ICD-9 codes for talus fractures. Soldiers, ages 18 to 40, with talus fracture between 2001 and 2008 were included. Radiographs identified the injury type, Hawkins sign, osteonecrosis, and posttraumatic arthritis. Mean time to fixation was 12.9 days. Hawkins sign was observed in 59% of fractures at a mean of 7 weeks. No correlation was found between osteonecrosis or posttraumatic arthritis and open fractures, comminuted fractures, or timing of fixation. Average follow-up was 16 months. This case series has the longest mean time to fixation by more than threefold. There was no correlation of delayed timing of fixation and development of osteonecrosis or posttraumatic arthritis. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 20(1):34–37, 2011)

CPT Jaime L. Bellamy, DO, CDR John J. Keeling, MD, Joseph Wenke, PhD,
LTC Joseph R. Hsu, MD, and the Skeletal Trauma Research Consortium