DOI: 10.1177/19476035231216182 ISSN: 1947-6035

Current Lack of Evidence on Treatment Strategies and Clinical Outcomes for Osteochondral Lesions of the Subtalar, Talonavicular, and Calcaneocuboid Joints: A Systematic Review

Yoshiharu Shimozono, Stefan Rammelt, Masato Takao
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Immunology and Allergy


In contrast to osteochondral lesion (OCL) of the ankle, OCLs in other joints of the foot, such as subtalar joint, talonavicular joint, calcaneocuboid joint, and the midfoot, are rare conditions, but they can also lead to significant morbidity. The objective of this systematic review was to summarize the clinical evidence for the treatment of OCLs of the subtalar, talonavicular, calcaneocuboid, and the other midfoot joints.


A systematic search of the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases was performed in January 2021 based on the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines by 2 independent reviewers. Included studies were evaluated with regard to LOE (level of evidence) and QOE (quality of evidence). Variable reporting outcome data, clinical outcomes, and complications were evaluated.


Seventeen studies with 21 patients were included, all of which were case reports (level 5) without any case series reporting greater than 3 patients. There were 5 patients with OCL in the subtalar joint, 15 patients in the talonavicular joint, and 1 patient in the calcaneocuboid joint. Thirteen case reports (4 subtalar joint, 8 talonavicular joint, and 1 calcaneocuboid joint) reported surgical treatment. Surgical procedures mainly included debridement, bone marrow stimulation, fixation, and bone grafting, through open or arthroscopy, all of which resulted in successful outcomes. Four case reports (1 subtalar joint, 3 talonavicular joint) reported successful conservative treatment. Other 13 case reports reported successful surgery after failed conservative treatment. No complications and reoperations were reported.


The current systematic review revealed that there is no available evidence to ascertain clinical outcomes of both conservative and surgical treatments for cartilage lesions in the talonavicular joint, subtalar joint, and the midfoot joints, owing to the extreme paucity of literature. Both nonoperative and operative treatments can be considered, but no treatment strategies have been established.

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