Aviator’s Astragalus


Other Known AliasesNone

Definition – Any fracture dislocation of the talus.

Clinical Significance None.  This is an antiquated term for talar injuries

History – First coined in 1919 by Henry Graeme Anderson, who was a consulting surgeon for the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.  He described 18 cases of fracture and dislocation of the talus in pilots between 1914-1919.  During the early history of flight, planes did not reach lethal speeds and when they crashed, the rudder bar (which was controlled by the pilot’s feet) would get driven up into the instep of the foot just anterior to the calcaneous.

Image result for plane rudder bar world war one

Image result for talus fracture mechanism


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Anderson HG.  The Medical and Surgical Aspects of Aviation.  The Henry Frowde Oxford University Press.  London, 1919
  6. Coltart WD.  Aviator’s Astragalus.  Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 1952;34(4):545-566.
  7. Lee P.  Musculoskeletal Colloquialisms: How Did We Come Up with These Names?.  Radiographics.  2004;24(4):1009-1027.

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