Osteochondral lesions of the talar dome

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2023 Feb;109(1S):103452. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2022.103452. Epub 2022 Oct 20.


Ankle pain and/or instability is a frequent, non-specific reason for consultation, and may reveal an osteochondral lesion of the talar dome (OLTD). There are 2 types of OLTD: (1) posteromedial, usually idiopathic, wide and deep, featuring isolated pain with severe functional impact; (2) anterolateral, often implicating trauma and associated in 30% of cases with lateral ligament involvement, in a clinical presentation associating pain and instability. The aim of the present study was to review the issue of OLTD, with 5 questions: HOW TO ESTABLISH THE DIAGNOSIS, WITH WHAT WORK-UP?: There are no specific clinical signs. A diagnosis of OLTD should be considered in all cases of painful and/or unstable ankle and especially in case of history of sprain. The clinical work-up screens systematically for laxity or associated hindfoot malalignment. CT-arthrography is the gold-standard, enabling morphologic analysis of OLTD. WHAT CLASSIFICATIONS SHOULD BE USED?: CT-arthrography determines length, depth and any cartilage dissection, classifying OLTD in 3 grades. Grade 1 is a lesion<10mm in length and<5mm in depth. Grade 2 is>10mm in length and/or>5mm in depth with intact cartilage around the lesion. Grade 3 is the same as grade 2 but with overlying cartilage dissection. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TREATMENT INDICATIONS?: After failure of 6 months' well-conducted medical treatment (sports rest, analgesics, physiotherapy), surgical options in France today comprise microfracture in grade 1 OLTD, raising the fragment, freshening the floor of the lesion and fixing the fragment (known as "lift, drill, fill, fix" (LDFF)) in grade 2, and mosaicplasty in grade 3. WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR FUTURE TREATMENTS AND THEIR ROLES?: Treatments are progressing and improving. Ideal treatment should restore hyaline cartilage to prevent secondary osteoarthritis. Matrix and cell culture techniques need to be validated. WHAT RESULTS CAN BE EXPECTED AND WHAT SHOULD PATIENTS BE TOLD?: Management according to grade secures AOFAS scores≥80/100 in 80% of cases, whatever the grade. Return to sport is feasible in 80% of case, at a mean 6 months. Progression is satisfactory after treatment adapted to the lesion. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: V, expert opinion.

Keywords: Cartilage; Classification; Graft; Microfracture; Talus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Ankle Joint / surgery
  • Arthrography
  • Cartilage, Articular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cartilage, Articular* / surgery
  • Foot
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Talus* / diagnostic imaging
  • Talus* / surgery