Os Trigonum Syndrome

Marie-Lyne Nault J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2014 vol. 22 no. 9

Os trigonum syndrome is the result of an overuse injury of the posterior ankle caused by repetitive plantar flexion stress. It is predominantly seen in ballet dancers and soccer players and is primarily a clinical diagnosis of exacerbated posterior ankle pain while dancing on pointe or demi-pointe or while doing push-off maneuvers. Symptoms may improve with rest or activity modification. Imaging studies, including a lateral radiographic view of the ankle in maximal plantar flexion, will typically reveal the os trigonum between the posterior tibial lip and calcaneus. If an os trigonum is absent on radiography, an MRI may reveal scar tissue behind the posterior talus, a condition associated with similar symptoms. Os trigonum syndrome is often associated with pathology of the flexor hallucis longus tendon. Treatment begins with nonsurgical measures. In addition to physical therapy, symptomatic athletes may need surgical excision of os trigonum secondary to unavoidable plantar flexion associated with their sport. This surgery can be performed using open or arthroscopic approaches.

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