Do you experience chronic ankle pain that worsens with weight-bearing activity and lessens when resting? Do you feel a “clicking” or “catching” sensation in your ankle when walking or a sensation of the ankle “locking” or “giving out”? If so, it is possible that you have a talar dome lesion.
A talar dome lesion is an injury to the cartilage and underlying bone of the talus within the ankle joint. It is also called an osteochondral defect (OCD) or osteochondral lesion of the talus (OLT). The top of the talus is dome-shaped and completely covered with cartilage, which enables the ankle to move smoothly. When this cartilage becomes damaged, it can cause chronic pain in the ankle.
Talar dome lesions are usually caused by an injury, such as an ankle sprain. If the cartilage doesn’t heal properly following the injury, it softens and begins to break off. Sometimes a broken piece of the damaged cartilage and bone will move around in the ankle.
If you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, it is important to see a foot and ankle specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Dr Gilbert Huang DPM specializes in foot and ankle care and can help evaluate if you have a talar dome lesion and what treatment options are best for you.
A talar dome lesion can be difficult to diagnose because the precise site of the pain can be hard to pinpoint. To diagnose this injury, Dr. Huang will examine the foot and ankle, moving the ankle joint to determine if there is pain, clicking, or limitation of motion within that joint. X-rays are taken, and often an MRI or other advanced imaging tests are ordered to further evaluate the lesion and extent of the injury.
Treatment depends on the severity of the talar dome lesion. If the lesion is stable (without loose pieces of cartilage or bone), non-surgical treatment options may be considered. These include immobilization, oral medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and wearing an ankle brace. However, if non-surgical treatment fails to relieve the symptoms of talar dome lesions, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may involve removing the loose bone and cartilage fragments within the joint and establishing an environment for healing.
It is important to note that depending on the amount of cartilage damage, arthritis may develop in the joint, resulting in chronic pain, swelling, and limited joint motion. Treatment for these complications is best directed by a foot and ankle surgeon and may include non-steroidal or steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, bracing, or surgical intervention.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing chronic ankle pain, don’t ignore it. The problem may be a talar dome lesion, and Dr. Gilbert Huang DPM can help with diagnosis and treatment options. With prompt care from a foot and ankle specialist, you can get back to pain-free activities and prevent potential complications from arising.