Talonavicular arthroscopy for osteochondral lesions: technique and case series

Foot Ankle Int. 2014 Sep;35(9):909-15. doi: 10.1177/1071100714540887. Epub 2014 Jun 24.


Background: Traditional treatment of talonavicular osteochondral lesions (OCLs) requires an open procedure. Arthroscopic microfracture of talonavicular OCLs may provide a viable, minimally invasive approach. The purpose of this study was to describe an arthroscopic approach for treatment of talonavicular OCLs, describe the proximity of arthroscopic portals to important structures in cadaver specimens, and report magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings and clinical outcomes of this technique.

Methods: Five cadaver specimens were dissected so proximity of portals to adjacent tendons and neurovascular structures could be assessed. Subsequently, 3 athletic patients with OCLs of the talonavicular joint were treated with arthroscopic debridement and microfracture. Patient records and imaging studies were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: In the cadaver specimens, the mean distance between the neurovascular bundle and the medial border of the extensor hallucis longus (EHL) was 9.0 (range, 8 to 10) mm. The saphenous nerve was located a mean of 6.8 (range, 6 to 7) mm from the medial border of the tibialis anterior tendon. Therefore, portals were placed just medial to the EHL and tibialis anterior tendon to avoid the neurovascular bundle and saphenous nerve, respectively. In all patients, access, identification of the OCL, debridement, and microfracture were successfully performed. All patients demonstrated improvements in Foot and Ankle Outcome Scores and Short Form-12 scores and began gradual return to activity within 12 weeks following the operation. No significant complications occurred. MRI indicated signal consistent with reparative fibrocartilage in all patients.

Conclusion: Talonavicular arthroscopy allowed visualization, curettage, synovectomy, loose body removal, and microfracture of OCLs that would have otherwise required an open approach. At early follow-up, all patients had returned to their previous activity levels. Arthroscopy of the talonavicular joint was a viable approach for microfracture of OCLs.

Level of evidence: Level IV, case series.

Keywords: articular cartilage; bone marrow stimulation; microfracture; midfoot; navicular; outcomes; talus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroplasty, Subchondral*
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • Cadaver
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries
  • Cartilage, Articular / surgery*
  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Femoral Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tarsal Joints / anatomy & histology
  • Tarsal Joints / injuries
  • Tarsal Joints / surgery*
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology