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Cartilage Injuries of the Ankle

What are Cartilage Injuries of the Ankle?

Cartilage injuries of the ankle are one of the most common causes of ankle pain. Though in a majority of cases there is a history of injury or trauma to the ankle joint, a few cases may not have any previous history of ankle injury. Cartilage injuries of the ankle occur when articular cartilage is damaged by direct impact on the bone.

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The natural causes of cartilage injuries of the ankle are still not clear; however injury to the talus bone, any local lack of blood supply to the bone or any metabolic defect may affect the bone and result in osteochondral injury. Sometimes an unresolved ankle sprain may also result in cartilage injury of the ankle.


Symptoms of cartilage injury of the ankle includes:

  • Pain that may be localized to the ankle joint

  • Tenderness and swelling of the ankle joint

  • Difficulty in weight bearing

  • Locking of the ankle


Both non-surgical and surgical treatment can be used for the management of cartilage injuries of the ankle joint. The non-surgical treatment may be used for surface injuries and for rehabilitation purposes to improve muscle strength, mobility and coordination and protect the injured part by a brace or cast.


Surgical treatment is recommended for more severe injuries and comprises of debridement of the flaps of the cartilage and removal of any loose bodies. Some of the most commonly used surgical techniques include arthroscopy, synovectomy or screw fixation.

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