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PURPOSE. To assess outcome of 6 juvenile patients with osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the ankle treated conservatively.
METHODS. Records of 4 males and one female aged 10.8 to 14.1 (mean, 12.3) years who underwent cast immobilisation and/or restriction of physical activities for OCD of the talus (4 on the left and 2 on the right) were reviewed. OCD lesions were graded using the Berndt and Harty classification. Functional outcome was assessed using the ankle-hindfoot score of the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Clinical and radiographic outcomes were assessed according to the Higuera classification.
RESULTS. The mean follow-up period was 30.5 (range, 11-63) months. The mean ankle-hindfoot score was 90 (range, 86-100). Radiological resolution of OCD was noted in 2 ankles, although all ankles showed some degree of healing. All patients had resolution of pain after a mean of 7 (range, 3-12) months. According to the Higuera classification, clinical outcome was excellent in one and good in 5 ankles, whereas radiological outcome was excellent in 2, good in 2, and fair in 2 ankles. In one patient, the OCD of the right posteromedial talar dome resolved spontaneously.
CONCLUSION. Almost all patients achieved good functional outcome after conservative management, regardless of the presence of radiological evidence of healing. Surgery should only be performed if the OCD is unstable.