Osteochondritis dissecans can cause pain and stiffness of the ankle joint. These lesions are thought to be caused by injury to the bone underneath the joint surface or by loss of blood supply to a part of the bone.
There may be intermittent swelling, pain in the joint. X-rays of the ankle usually reveal a defect on the talar dome. A CAT scan or MRI scan may be necessary to determine the full extent of the area involved.
If these are discovered soon after a twisting injury to the ankle, then immobilization in a cast for 6 weeks may be suggested to see if the bone heals.
If the problem is not associated with an acute injury, surgery may be required to try and reduce the symptoms. Surgery usually involves placing small drill holes in the defect. The drill holes stimulate new blood vessels to fill the area and help to form scar tissue to fill the defect. Most often surgery is through the arthroscope.