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Foot & Ankle

Osteochondral lesions of the talus

Aspects of current management

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Osteochondral lesions (OCLs) occur in up to 70% of sprains and fractures involving the ankle. Atraumatic aetiologies have also been described. Techniques such as microfracture, and replacement strategies such as autologous osteochondral transplantation, or autologous chondrocyte implantation are the major forms of surgical treatment. Current literature suggests that microfracture is indicated for lesions up to 15 mm in diameter, with replacement strategies indicated for larger or cystic lesions. Short- and medium-term results have been reported, where concerns over potential deterioration of fibrocartilage leads to a need for long-term evaluation.

Biological augmentation may also be used in the treatment of OCLs, as they potentially enhance the biological environment for a natural healing response. Further research is required to establish the critical size of defect, beyond which replacement strategies should be used, as well as the most appropriate use of biological augmentation. This paper reviews the current evidence for surgical management and use of biological adjuncts for treatment of osteochondral lesions of the talus.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:164–71.

Correspondence should be sent to Dr. J. G. Kennedy; e-mail:

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