A condition seen commonly in athletes and non-athletes of all ages with ankle injury is osteochondritis. An osteochondral injury occurs with ankle trauma often in the form of a sprain or twisting. As the ankle twists, the lower leg bone or tibia hits the talus bone in the top of the foot and this causes injury particularly to the talus which can cause fragments of cartilage and bone to loosen or can cause bruising of the bone. If a fragment of bone does become loose this may disrupt the blood supply to that piece of bone which can impede healing.
The first symptoms will present much like an ankle sprain with swelling, stiffness, and pain with weight bearing. If a fragment of bone is loose, pain may be felt with movement of the fragment. To diagnose osteochondritis from other fractures and ankle sprains, a thorough history and physical as well as advanced imaging in the form of X-ray, MRI, or CT will need to be taken.
Osteochondritis ranges in grades of severity. Rest and keeping weight of the affected foot can cause symptom resolution in lower grades of severity. NSAIDs may help relieve inflammation and pain. However, if the injury is allowed to progress or is of a higher severity then surgery may be needed to remove any loose fragments and possibly graft any deficits. During this surgery, small holes will most likely be drilled in the bone as well to encourage blood vessels to form and promote vascularity.
If you think you may have an ankle problem and would like to consult a specialist, contact Orange City, Daytona Beach, and Port Orange podiatrist, Dr. Sona Ramdath with Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates. We will discuss your options to see what is the best solution is for you.