Osteochondral lesions are injuries to the bone and cartilage on the bottom of the ankle joint. Also referred to as osteochondritis dessicans or osteochondral fractures, the injuries may involve cartilage blistering, bone lesions, or fractures of both the bone and cartilage layers, explains the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.
Osteochondral lesions occur due to a single or repeated traumatic injury that involves a portion of the talus impacting another part of the ankle joint, resulting in damage to the talus. The symptoms of the condition include persistent ankle pain, swelling and instability of the joint that does not improve over the course of several months. Treatment options depend on the scope and severity of the condition. Physicians may recommend surgery to restore the normal shape and surface of the talus. Nonsurgical treatments include immobilization and physical therapy, notes the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society.