Acute Osteochondral Fractures in the Lower Extremities - Approach to Identification and Treatment

M.E Pedersen1, M.P DaCambra 2, Z Jibri3, S Dhillon3, H Jen 3, N.M Jomha*, 1
1 Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
2 CF Health Services Centre, Ottawa, Canada
3 Department of Radiology & Diagnostic Imaging, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

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© Pedersen et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the 2D2.32 WMC Department of Surgery, University of Alberta Hospital, 8440-112St, Edmonton, T6G 2B7, Canada; Tel: 1 780 407 2816; Fax: 1 780 407 2819; E-mail:


Chondral and osteochondral fractures of the lower extremities are important injuries because they can cause pain and dysfunction and often lead to osteoarthritis. These injuries can be misdiagnosed initially which may impact on the healing potential and result in poor long-term outcome. This comprehensive review focuses on current pitfalls in diagnosing acute osteochondral lesions, potential investigative techniques to minimize diagnostic errors as well as surgical treatment options. Acute osteochondral fractures are frequently missed and can be identified more accurately with specific imaging techniques. A number of different methods can be used to fix these fractures but attention to early diagnosis is required to limit progression to osteoarthritis. These fractures are common with joint injuries and early diagnosis and treatment should lead to improved long term outcomes.

Keywords: Chondral injuries, lower extremity, osteochondral fractures, pathophysiology, osteoarthritis prevention, treatment.