Francis J Shepherd

Francis John Shepherd (1851-1929)

Francis John Shepherd (1851-1929) was a Canadian general surgeon and anatomist.

Professor of anatomy at McGill University. Pioneered the teaching of dermatology in Canada serving as President of the Canadian branch of the British Dermatological Society (1928)

Eponymously associated with Shepherd fracture – posterior talar process fracture with injury to the lateral tubercle caused by inversion or extreme equinus in 1882

  • Born on November 25, 1851, the second of ten children of Robert Ward Shepherd, general manager of the Ottawa River Navigation Co, and his wife, née Delesderniers, who was of Swiss origin. He was born at Port Cavignal, afterwards named Como, a village about 38 miles from Montreal on the southern side of the Lake of Two Mountains.
  • 1869-1873 Faculty of Medicine, McGill University.
  • 1874-1875 St Thomas’s Hospital passed the MRCS; Vienna studying dermatology under von Hebra (1816–1880).
  • 1875-1883 Demonstrator of anatomy at McGill University with his friend and contemporary, Sir William Osler.
  • 1883-1913 Lecturer then Professor in Anatomy, McGill University
  • 1901 – President of the Canadian Medical Association
  • 1902 – Chief surgeon at Montreal General Hospital; Professor of Surgery McGill University
  • 1905 – Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh
  • 1906-1910 President of the Montreal Art Association
  • 1908-1914 Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University
  • Emeritus Dean of Medicine at McGill University
  • Died on January 18, 1929

Medical Eponyms

Shepherd fracture (1882)

Posterior talar process fracture with injury to the lateral tubercle caused by inversion or extreme equinus

Described by Francis John Shepherd (1851-1929), in 1882, initially as a single dissection and later as a series of three such fractures.

Last year I exhibited to this Society (Medico-Chirurgical Society of Montreal) a specimen of fracture of the astragalus (talus) found in a subject in the dissecting-room. Since then I have examined the condition of the astragalus in every subject dissected, and have been fortunate enough to obtain two more examples of the same fracture. 

The fractured portion is the little process of bone external to the groove for the tendon of the flexor longs hallucis muscle: This process is on the posterior border of the astragalus, and overhangs the os calcis. To it is attached the posterior fasciculus of the external lateral ligamnet of the ankle-joint; called sometimes the posterior peroneo-tarsal ligament. Judging from the appearance of the fracture, it would seem that the process of bone is torn off by the ligament being put on the stretch in some twist of the foot. 

May not this fracture account for some cases of sprained ankles which are so slow to recover, and which occasionally leave permanent lameness, or at any rate weakness? In such cases as I have described, it is probable that any motion of the foot (as flexion and twisting out) which puts the posterior peroneo-tarsal ligament on the stretch would be painful. 

Shepherd 1882
Shepherd fracture posterior talus lateral tubercle fracture
Shepherd fracture

**Cedell fracture – posterior talar process fracture with injury to the medial tubercle caused by forced dorsiflexion and pronation

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

One comment

  1. Hello. I happened to come across this article about Dr Francis J Shepherd, who was my great-grandmother’s older brother. He was born to Robert Ward Shepherd and his wife Mary Cecilia de les Derniers in Montreal in 1851. The family lived in Montreal and eventually built a summer residence, Riversmead (http://hudson-village.com/business/riversmead_bed_and_breakfast.shtml), in Como, Province of Quebec, now known as the Town of Hudson. Their ten children, including Dr Shepherd and my great-grandmother, Beatrice Shepherd Henshaw, were all born in Canada. Regards.

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