Ankle Pain… You may have Osteochondral Defect

Osteochondral Defects of the Talus

A Talar dome lesion, or an osteochondral defect (OCD) of the talus, is an injury to the talus, a bone which sits just underneath the long bones of your leg within the ankle joint. An OCD can happen after even a simple injury to the ankle and they commonly occur in ankle sprains and ankle fractures. They can be difficult to diagnose because a large part of the injury can be to the cartilage of the talus and cannot be seen on a routine X-ray. Often it is necessary to have an MRI to diagnose an OCD.

Osteochondral Defects

The symptoms of an Osteochondral Defect are:

  • Chronic pain deep in the ankle, typically worse when putting weight on the foot
  • A clicking, catching or locking feeling in the ankle when walking or running
  • Episodes of swelling of the ankle which occurs when bearing weight that subsides when at rest

How are Osteochondral Defects treated?

  • Immobilization: Depending on the type of injury, the leg may be placed in a cast or cast boot to protect the talus. During this period of immobilization, non-weight bearing range-of-motion exercises are recommended.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Medications like Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Aspirin may be helpful in reducing the pain and inflammation from an OCD
  • Physical therapy. Range-of-motion and strengthening exercises are beneficial once the OCD is adequately healed.
  • Ankle brace: Wearing an ankle brace may help protect the patient from re-injury if the ankle is unstable.
  • Surgery: If non-surgical management of OCDs is performed and is unsuccessful, surgery may be indicated for an OCD. The type of surgery is largely dependent on the size of the OCD. Many times the surgery can be done arthroscopically through two tiny incisions on the front of the ankle, but for bigger lesions more involved surgery may be necessary.

If you had an ankle injury several months ago that just does not seem to be healing correctly, you could have an osteochondral defect in your talus.  Call the foot and ankle experts at Kansas City Foot and Ankle today at 816-943-1111 to set up an appointment to have your ankle evaluated.