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A typical snowboarding injury--fracture of the processus lateralis tali


, : A typical snowboarding injury--fracture of the processus lateralis tali. Therapeutische Umschau. Revue Therapeutique 57(12): 756-759

Before the development of the snowboard sport, the fracture of the lateral process of the talus was a very rare injury. Since the increasing popularity of snowboarding, starting in Europe at about 1980, these fractures occurred more frequently. The largest epidemiological serie from Kirkpatrick in 1998 reports an incidence of 2.3% of all snowboarding injuries representing 15% of all snowboarding ankle injuries [1]. The common mechanism for fracture is dorsiflexion of the ankle and inversion of the hindfoot. Early diagnosis is emphasized in all series reviewed in the literature to prevent long-term complications [4]. Because routine radiographs failed to determine either the size or comminution of the fractured process, CT imaging was used to accurately assess the size, displacement, and comminution of the fractured process. CT scans also showed the extent of subtalar joint involvement, any associated tendon pathology, or additional fractures [5]. Many of these fractures are not visible on plain radiographs and require computed tomography imaging to be diagnosed. Diagnosis of this fracture pattern is paramount; the physician should be very suspicious of anterolateral ankle pain in the snowboarder, where subtle fractures that may require surgical intervention can be confused with anterior talofibular ligament sprains [1]. Most authors agree, that nondisplaced fractures are best treated with cast immobilization and that displaced fractures require a surgical treatment: Single large displaced fragments are reduced and internally fixed, small displaced or comminuted fragments may need surgical excision. After two to three days bedrest with elevated leg, ambulation is started under partial weight bearing of 10-15 kg for 6 weeks. Physicians caring for snowboarders should look specifically for fracture of the lateral process of the talus in a snowboarder with a lateral ankle or foot injury [3]. This fracture can mimic a lateral ankle sprain, yet the fracture is easily missed on plain radiographs of the ankle. Because displaced or comminuted fractures can cause long-term disability, primary care physicians and specialists alike need to be aware of the association of this fracture with snowboarding [3].

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PMID: 11155553


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