What is a Talar Dome Lesion?
The ankle joint is composed of the bottom of the tibia (shin) bone and the top of the talus (ankle) bone. The top of the talus is dome-shaped and is completely covered with cartilage—a tough, rubbery tissue that enables the ankle to move smoothly. A talar dome lesion is an injury to the cartilage and underlying bone of the talus within the ankle joint. It is also called an osteochondral defect (OCD) or osteochondral lesion of the talus (OLT). “Osteo” means bone and “chondral” refers to cartilage.
Talar dome lesions are usually caused by an injury, such as an ankle sprain. If the cartilage doesn’t heal properly following the injury, it softens and begins to break off. Sometimes a broken piece of the damaged cartilage and bone will “float” in the ankle.
- Chronic pain deep in the ankle—typically worse when bearing weight on the foot (especially during sports) and less when resting
- An occasional “clicking” or “catching” feeling in the ankle when walking
- A sensation of the ankle “locking” or “giving out”
- Episodes of swelling of the ankle—occurring when bearing weight and subsiding when at rest