The cases of nine patients with ununited fracture of the posterior process of the talus were reviewed. The most common mechanism of injury was forced plantarflexion. All patients had pain in the posterior ankle region. Common physical findings included tenderness between the lateral malleolus and the Achilles tendon and pain on forced plantarflexion. Of the radiographic imaging modalities used, 99Tc bone scan was found to be the most helpful in diagnosis. All nine patients eventually underwent surgical excision at a mean period of 9.4 months post injury. At average follow-up of 27 months after surgery (range 7-69 months), six of nine patients had good or excellent results with respect to pain relief and return to function. There were two complications of sural neuroma formation, one of which resulted in severe persistent pain after surgery. Based on these findings, we believe the differential diagnosis of chronic posttraumatic ankle pain should include fracture of the posterior process of the talus. Furthermore, excision of an ununited fragment through a lateral approach, taking care to preserve and protect the sural nerve, should lead to the return of painless function in the majority of cases.
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