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J Can Chiropr Assoc. 1999 March; 43(1): 15–21.
PMCID: PMC2485432

Osteochondral lesion of the talus in a recreational athlete: a case report


A 23-year-old recreational male athlete presented with intermittent pain of three weeks duration, localized to the left ankle. Pain was aggravated by walking, although his symptoms had not affected the patient’s jogging activity which was performed three times per week. Past history revealed an inversion sprain of the left ankle, sustained fifteen months previously. Examination showed mild swelling anterior to the ankle mortise joint while other tests including range of motion, strength and motion palpation of specific joints of the ankle were noted to be unremarkable. Radiographic findings revealed a defect in the medial aspect of the talus. An orthopaedic referral was made for further evaluation. Tomography revealed a Grade III osteochondral lesion of the talus.

It was determined that follow-up views be taken in three months to demonstrate if the lesion was progressing or healing. Within the three month period, activity modifications and modalities for pain control were indicated. Surgery was considered a reasonable option should conservative measures fail.

The present case illustrates an osteochondral lesion of the talus, a condition which has not previously been reported in the chiropractic literature. A review of the pertinent orthopaedic literature has indicated an average delay of three years in diagnosing the existence of this lesion.

Although considered rare, the diagnostic frequency of the condition appears to be on the rise due to increased awareness and the use of bone and CT scans. The osteochondral lesion of the talus deserves particular consideration by practitioners working with athletes due to its higher incidence within this group. This diagnosis should be considered in patients presenting with chronic ankle pain particularly when a history of an inversion sprain exists.

The purpose of this report is to increase awareness of this condition, and review diagnosis and management strategies.

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Selected References

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Articles from The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association are provided here courtesy of The Canadian Chiropractic Association