Arthroscopic treatment of osteochondral lesions of the talus.

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In a study of twenty-four patients (twenty-four ankles) with a symptomatic osteochondral lesion of the talus, eighteen of the lesions were found to be associated with trauma. The lesions were evaluated both radiographically and by arthroscopy. The method of treatment was determined at arthroscopy by observing the nature of the articular cartilage overlying the lesion. The cartilage was graded from I to III based on its appearance. It was found that a lesion can progress from grade I to grade III while under observation. There was a lack of correlation between the radiographic appearance and the findings at arthroscopy. The results after an average length of follow-up of thirty months (range, twenty to forty-four months) indicated that osteochondral lesions over which the cartilage is intact (grade I) are best treated by simple restriction of sports activities. Lesions in which the overlying cartilage is soft (grade II) can be treated through the arthroscope by drilling and those in which the overlying cartilage is frayed (grade III) can be treated through the arthroscope by curettage, with minimum morbidity and good results.

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