OSTEOCHONDRAL LESION OF THE TALUS (OLT) Q & A

Orthopedic Specialists -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic Specialists

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Palm Harbor, FL

Osteochondral Lesion of the Talus (OLT) Q & A

What is OLT?

An osteochondral lesion of the talus (OLT) is an area of damaged cartilage and bone on the top of the ankle‚Äôs talus bone. This condition is also known as osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the talus.  

What is the talus bone?

The talus is the ankle bone that connects the foot and leg. Along with the calcaneus, the heel bone just below it, it is the joint that allows your foot to move outward and inward. This is important for treading on uneven ground. The joint is sheathed in articular cartilage, which allows the talus to move smoothly against adjacent bones. 

What causes OLT? 

Sometimes, osteochondral lesion of the talus can occur after a bad ankle sprain. It can also occur with ankle instability, or a misalignment of the joint. 

What are the symptoms of OLT?

Some OLT cases cause no symptoms while others create great pain, swelling, clicking, or catching of the ankle joint. The pain tends to be worse with higher levels of activity such as running or jumping. 

How is osteochondral lesion of the talus diagnosed?

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic doctor will perform a thorough examination of your foot and ankle and evaluate your medical history. He may use x-rays to diagnose the problem. Magnetic resonance imaging (MR) can show if the cartilage is intact (nondisplaced OLT) or has been displaced. Additionally, if a cyst forms under the OLT, a CT scan can help evaluate the cyst size and bone quality. 

How is OLT treated?

Some nondisplaced OLT cases can be treated conservatively with a cast to immobilize the joint and keep weight off the affected foot. Physical therapy and bracing are also useful to help prevent instability and repeat injury. 

Surgery may be discussed if an OLT condition fails to improve or if the cartilage is displaced. Often, such a procedure can be performed in a minimally invasive setting using an arthroscope.  

The exceptional doctors at Orthopedic Specialists have the expertise you need to treat OLT and other foot and ankle bone conditions. Schedule an evaluation today.  

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