BackgroundThis study aimed to examine the efficacy and safety of the arthroscopic treatment of osteochondral lesion of talus (OLT) and lateral ankle instability. It was hypothesized that the outcome of all-arthroscopic surgery was no worse than that of the combined open and arthroscopic surgery for treating chronic lateral ankle instability accompanied by OLT.MethodsThe patients diagnosed of chronic lateral ankle instability accompanied by OLT, who were surgically treated between May 2015 and May2017, were targeted for inclusion. Specifically, patients who received the arthroscopic treatment of OLT and lateral ankle instability were enrolled in the all-arthroscopic group, while patients who received the arthroscopic treatment of OLT and open lateral ankle stabilization were enrolled in the combined open and arthroscopic group. All the patients were followed up in terms of the Karlsson Ankle Functional Score, visual analog scale (VAS) score, Tegner activity score, and American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) score. Meanwhile, the satisfaction and complication rates were evaluated and compared.ResultsThis retrospective study included a total of 67 patients, including 32 patients in the all-arthroscopic group and 35 patients in the combined group. At a minimum of 24-month follow-up, the functional outcomes were significantly improved in both groups in relation to the preoperative condition. However, the two groups did not differ significantly from each other in terms of the Karlsson score (83.1 ± 8.2 vs 81.7 ± 9.1; P = 0.89), the VAS score (1.8 ± 1.6 vs 2.1 ± 1.7; P = 0.73), the Tegner score (5.5 ± 2.3 vs 5.0 ± 2.1; P = 0.72), and the AOFAS score (87.7 ± 7.6 vs 86.9 ± 7.3; P = 0.77). In addition, the satisfaction and complication rates exhibited no significant differences between the two groups.ConclusionIn comparison with the open lateral ankle stabilization and arthroscopic treatment of OLT, the all-arthroscopic procedure showed no difference in clinical outcomes at a minimum of 24-month follow-up. Despite the benefits of minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure combined with a relatively aggressive postoperative rehabilitation protocol, the clinical outcomes for patients with chronic lateral ankle instability accompanied by OLT did not yield significant improvement.Trial registrationThe present study was carried out with the approval issued by the Institutional Review Board of Xiangya Hospital (no. 202002010).