Osteochondritis dissecans in ankle

Posted , 28 users are following.

Hi all,

Seems us folks with osteochondritis dissecans in the ankle are not too common.

I have suffered with this condition since 1996, and it's been quite a lonely thing as I don't know anyone else with this in their ankle.

I have had two rounds of keyhole surgery for a grade 5 lesion, although I don't believe my lesion is too big on the grand scheme of things. I used to play an awful lot of sport when my ankle went wrong. My GP at the time failed to diagnose me for a long time, repeatedly sending me away with a muscle strain, eventually I got a second opinion and the x-ray confirmed I had soft bone in my joint. Unfortunately nobody took any action to immobilise itt and the soft bone fractured out into my ankle joint.

Luckily I got an amazing GP when I went to university and she was responsible for me seeing a good specialist and getting surgery in 1998 and again in 2002. This really helped to stabilise my ankle and after a number of years being quite active (I was able to walk upto 8 miles at a time!) in spring 2011 things went wrong again. This time my back was the problem. After not being able to get a diagnosis through all the tests on the NHS I found an osteopath who has diagnosed my problems. I have developed a scoliosis of the spine due to my ankle problems tipping my pelvis forward on the right side (same side as ankle joint affected). This in turn has put my back out of line and has stopped me doing a lot of stuff I used to enjoy. Its frustrating and really has knocked my confidence, as well as painful most days in some way.

The NHS have not ever really known what to do about the chronic pain I have experienced (even after the successful 2002 surgery I've had periods of intense pain in that joint), and now it seems I have chronic back pain to add to the mix. Even getting physio to help mobilise my back has taken 15 weeks.

Has anyone else out there experienced back pain after having osteochondritis in their joints. If so did they find any particular strategy worked in getting help with pain and knock on effects? I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone else with their experiences.

1 like, 31 replies

Report / Delete

31 Replies

  • Posted

    An MRI revealed that I have Osteochondritis dissecans in my right ankle recently. It has been nagging me for years but I only recently decided to do something about it, because it was really starting to interfere with my life (and let's face it, I'm a guy, so I don't like to complain - it's just a bit of pain!).

    I have an appointment this week to see a traumatologist and will prob end up having surgery, from what I read, so that'll be fun.

    I've not really had too many back issues, as yet (though it does bother me from time to time). I've totally adjusted how I walk due to the OD so I can see how this would happen.

    How's your back now?

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi, I had the same problem with Osteochondritis dissecans in the right ankle. As per the OP, I was mis-diagnosed for the first year of the pain - I had broken the ankle when I was 28 and the trauma caused the OCD, but it wasn't picked up until I kept complaining and went to another Doctor.

    In September of 2012 (Almost 2 years after the initial ankle-break), my new doctor suggested that surgery would put me out of action for a while with no guaranteed chance of improvement, so gave me orthopaedic insoles for my shoes, I didn't notice much difference at first but when I now wear shoes without them my ankle becomes really painful again. He permitted me to run, but only on soft surfaces, and to cycle. He ruled out any other stop-start sport, or activities which require a rapid change of direction on the ankle. He then went on to tell me not to get fat either... due to the extra weight that'd put through the ankle. :D

    I was given a recovery time of about one year, which takes us to September 2013. As yet I can report only temporary improvement, followed by searing pain which causes me to limp when I walk. I was running about 20km a week, and when that started to hurt too much I bought a bike and cycle about 80km a week instead.

    I'm not too hopeful of recovery and I'm a little worried that this isn't going to heal at all - prohibiting me from taking part in most sports, hiking or even going shopping and carrying heavy loads.

    The ankle is a bugger of a place to get an injury like this because it's weight-bearing. Although it's a pain for me, I couldn't imagine someone who has young kids to chase after/carry around or someone with a physical job which requires them to be on their feet all day.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Gosh I wrote that ages ago! Thanks for the replies. I've had surgery since my initial post - in February 2013. I've had a synovectomy of my right ankle. It appears the synovium was getting really inflamed due to the OCD in my ankle and getting crushed in the joint. Apparently very painful and I can confirm that is indeed the case. Since my operation, the pain has got better. I'm still struggling with not being able to do so much, and really having to work hard at my physio, but I take each day as it comes.

    I really feel for you guys - it is hard to adjust your lifestyle. I too have orthotics and am also doing back exercises to try and keep as mobile as possible for as long as possible. I thoroughly recommend the support group I found on Facebook. There are over 100 people on there from all over the world and it's great for sharing experiences, the good times and bad times. Come on over if you feel minded to. There are people who just KNOW how it is to live with this disabling condition.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I got mine done last week and was wondering how long it took you guys to start walking properly again? Or even walking a little?

    Whenever I try to walk it is agony in my ankle. Is this normal?

    Also how long until you can continue with sports such as football etc?


    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi All,

    I wish I had all your stories a few years ago, when I was going through OCD diagnosis and treatment! Like a few of you here, I was also mis-diagnosed for about a year.

    I had arthroscopic surgery for ankle OCD in Sept. 2009. Before then, I was a casual runner -- never ran anything more than 10 km, but would often go out for 5-6 km run for regular exercise. During surgery, a 1-cm (diameter) piece of cartilage was removed, and my talus was filed for smoothness. I couldn't bear any weight on the ankle for 6 weeks, and I couldn't walk properly for nearly 3 months. I got into physiotherapy as soon as I could. The therapist gave me lots of exercises to do, both for balance and strength -- mostly one-legged squats and leg-raises. To be honest, I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the exercises and started to cheat by not doing them every day. But eventually my ankle was strong enough for me to return to my daily walks with my dog.

    But if I ran -- even for short distances -- my back would get all tingly and then feel extremely sore the next day. It was so painful that I could not sit in a chair for 5 min. So I went back to my physiotherapist, who -- bless his heart -- was committed to getting me back to running regularly (if casually), but for some reason the exercises didn't help much this time around. I was doing back stretches, "back strengthening" exercises, and a few leg strengthening exercises. So that was about 2 years ago.

    Since then, I've made a near full recovery. The tricks for me were to (1) get proper custom orthotics and (2) make a habit of going to the gym to do some challenging weight-bearing exercises for my legs. I focused on strengthening my quads and glutes and all of those major leg muscles, doing squats, lunges, etc. with added weights, not just my body weight. I've pushed myself harder than ever at the gym, and it's made a life-transforming difference. I remember running my first 10 km route since being diagnosed with OCD, and I didn't feel ANY pain -- neither in my ankle nor in my back -- the following day. It felt great, and I'm quite certain the success owed to my stronger leg muscles. Now I just have to make sure that I keep going to the gym!

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I right there with everyone on this forum. I broke mine and wasn't told for 3 months after the surgery after I found the right PA that actually cared enough to look. I since had a scope, bone reconstruction surgery and a Brostrom done. Unfortunately with my job in the army and the fact that my body didn't take to the surgery very well. I am now being Med boarded out of the army for my conditions because I am of no use to the army anymore. I personally am going to Pain Management now to try to see if I have nerve damage from all the surgery s. I have to take Nurotine every day to be able to be mobile enough to do things. It is a life changing condition and for me I feel as though it has taken my life/personality away from me. I love nature and hiking around, enough said on that. I would love to continue to talk to you all and, if needed, be any help to those that are going into the process. Has anyone in here had a successful recovery from their surgery in here?
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi Chris, sorry it has taken a while to come back to you. You're not alone and you're right it is life changing. Again I'd like to point you all in the direction of the facebook group as it has been really useful.
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Dear All,

    Really happy to find this forum, obviously, as stated by the first poster here, OCD in the ankle isn't very common. I have found no other who know anything about this, except for the ortho who will perform surgery on me at some point in a few weeks time. He's done his share of OCD of the ankle, so I fully trust his assessments, which aren't, in my opinion, great. I can see that some of you here too, has had really bad experiences from ODC.

    Now, I appear to have had it all until now, so I I'll see if I can pull this on off too:

    1. Violent ankle sprain including a total achilles tendon rupture. May 2013.

    2. second child born September 2013 (yep, I now have TWO toddlers to run after, first born april 2012)

    3. PT suspects ODC in August, recieve conservative treatment until recovery from achilles tendon rupture is sufficient to plan for new surgery.

    4. MRI in march 2014, diagnosed with ODC of the talus, ca 17x7x5 mm fragment, including bone.

    5. Also diagnosed with a longitudinal split and advanced tendinosis of the peroneus brevis tendon.

    6. Awaiting surgery for ODC in a couple of weeks - simple fragment removal, no microfracture, drilling, allograft, or anything else.

    7. Planning surgery for the peroneus brevis tendon fall 2014 if ODC surgery is succesful.

    But, the ortho isn't optimistic. He said I should be pain free and cleared to do all kind of daily activities by 5-6 weeks after surgery, however, he believe he will find extensive cartilage damage in my talar joint, and hence I will never be able to return to running or running/jumping based activities. In which it is of little use to do anything with my peroneus brevis tendon.

    I am/was an avid runner, so I am very happy to see that some here have actually returned to the sport. I am really hoping, but, you all know...

    Looking forward to receive some responses and 'heads up'. Something tells me I'll need it.

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hello All,

    I am a 22 year old female with Osteochondritis Dissecans in both of my ankles. I was diagnosed when I was 16.. does anyone else on here suffer from this condition bilaterally in the ankles? Or heard of anyone that

    has? I had scopes performed on both of my ankles when i was 17, but the pain is now increasing and hard to manage since it affects both of my feet. Thanks for reading guys!

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      hi, Jenny! 

      I was diagnosed with my first OCD lesion in my talus in 2012, when I was 14. I had surgery in December 2012. everything was going great, until my right ankle started hurting in 2014... I went to my orthopedic doctor, and he asked me what I thought the pain was from, and I said another OCD lesion, and he said I was correct. i had surgery July of 2014 and he said I was the only case in his entire practice that had two OCD lesions. he had one other patient with only one. (my doctor is very well known in my area). I'm 16 now, I'm a cheerleader, and I'm still recovering from surgery. I'm not yet allowed to run or jump, which really bums me out. at least I have two new ankles worth $60,000USD? haha. I hope you're doing well! 

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Jenna,

      My 16 yr old daughter has OCD in both ankles too, unfortunately. She is a dancer and was diagnosed 6 mos. after a fall when she hairline fractured her foot 1 1/2 yrs ago. One year ago she had surgery (left ankle) to remove the loose bone and drill holes to stimulate healing. Shortly after she had an MRI on the right ankle which confirmed another lesion. She has had to stop dance and all other activity that includes any running or jumping. Her surgeon said the right lesion isnt as big, is stable and not bothering her right now so wont do surgery (he said it may cause more pain.) She still has some pain occasionally on the repaired foot, which is dissapointing since she was hoping to return to dance. I'm sorry to hear that you still experience pain after several years! What type of surgery was done, and are you staying inactive? 

      Thanks for sharing!


      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted


      Hello! My daughter is 18 and was just diagnosed with OCD in October. She had surgery on her right ankle on Wednesday. They removed a large fragment of cartilage that was in the joint and filled it with PRP (Plasma Enriched Platelets) after drilling holes the talar bone. She is in a lot of pain right now (it's only been four days post surgery) and is dreading the surgery of the other ankle but was assured by the surgeon that he has performed this surgery on profession soccer players who have returned to their game. He had never seen anyone with it in both of their ankles.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi all

    I have just been told I have chronic osteochronditis in my neck (C6/7) I have no idea what it is or if it's serious, or indeed what the treatment is.

    I am a former marathon runner and ironman triathlete and have been having ongoing problems with my lower back (dehydrated discs), knee pain and ankle pain for a while. I have stopped running but now I'm in constant pain.

    any ideas on what this osteochronditis is and treatmentt suggestions?


    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up