Surgical Treatment of Talus OCL: Mid- to Long-Term Clinical Outcome With Detailed Analyses of Return to Sport


      Talus osteochondral lesions are a commonly underdiagnosed problem in young athletes. Talus osteochondral lesions surgical algorithm remains controversial. Current metrics suggest that conventional treatment of osteochondral lesions of the talus is promising; yet return to sport is poorly studied. Fifty-seven patients following talus osteochondral lesion surgical intervention were included in this study. About 63.1% were female with mean age 37.1 years, mean lesion size 10 × 12.5 mm, and mean follow-up 79.9 months postoperatively. Patients were divided into 4 groups by surgery performed: antegrade arthroscopic bone marrow stimulation, retrograde arthroscopic drilling, osteochondral autograft transfer, and allograft cartilage implantation. Outcome metrics include Visual Analog Scale for pain and function, Short Form-12, Foot and Ankle Disability Scale, Tegner, Marx activity scores, Naal Sports inventory, and patient satisfaction. Over 77% of patients were satisfied with surgical intervention. Each intervention significantly decreased pain and increased function, except retrograde drilling. All interventions trended toward decreased Tegner score; only antegrade drilling showed significant decrease. Based on Naal's sports inventory, 85.7% of surgically treated patients reported participating in sport activities, on average 3 times/week and 50.6 minutes/session. Traditionally, talus osteochondral lesions present a difficult problem that is marred by unsatisfactory nonoperative outcomes in typically active patients. As our surgical understanding has evolved, we've continued to improve on outcomes. Our patients demonstrated 77.2% overall satisfaction rate, a statistically significant improvement in pain and function, at an average follow-up of 79.9 months postoperatively, and a high rate of return to sport with little difference between surgical interventions.

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