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Hospital for Special Surgery to Co-Organize International Congress on Cartilage Repair of the Ankle

New York—March 5, 2012


Ankle injuries are among the most common injuries in sports worldwide, with some form of cartilage damage occurring in as many as half of all ankle sprains and fractures. However, there is no clear consensus on the best way to treat them and provide the best potential for a long-term successful outcome for the patient.

Hospital for Special Surgery, in collaboration with the Ankle and Foot Associates of the European Society of Sports Traumatology, Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy (ESSKA), is organizing an “International Congress on Cartilage Repair of the Ankle.” It will take place at the historic Clontarf Castle in Dublin, Ireland, on March 9-10, 2012.

The conference will bring together a group of 25 experts from the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. “This meeting has been organized in an effort to gather a renowned group of surgeons and scientists with a single common interest where we can establish the foundation for international collaboration and innovation,” said Dr. John G. Kennedy, a chairman of the Congress and foot and ankle surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery.

Ankle injuries are common, especially in sports that require a lot of turning, running or jumping.  Soccer, basketball, volleyball and tennis are among the leading sports in which players suffer ankle injuries.  In fact, the ankle sprain was one of the most common injuries recorded during both the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Sprained ankles are the musculoskeletal injury most frequently seen by primary care health providers and constitute up to 30 percent of injuries seen in sports medicine clinics.  More than 23,000 people per day in the United States, including athletes and non-athletes, require medical care for ankle sprains.

Cartilage damage is often caused by an ankle injury, and the field of cartilage repair surgery has been the subject of controversy, according to Dr. Kennedy.

“We truly believe that cartilage repair of the ankle has not received the appropriate attention to date at scientific meetings worldwide or in the medical literature, and the purpose of this Congress is to change that,” Dr. Kennedy said.  “This meeting represents a willingness among leaders in the field to work together and ultimately progress toward an evidence-based consensus on the optimal treatment strategies in cartilage repair surgery of the ankle.”

Sample topics to be discussed:
the impact of articular cartilage injuries on athletes worldwide
cartilage injury and the development of osteoarthritis in the ankle
diagnostic arthroscopy for a cartilage injury after ankle fracture: when is it appropriate?
when is it appropriate to order an MRI after an ankle sprain or fracture to look for cartilage injury?
cartilage tissue engineering and gene therapy
the basic science of stem cells and growth factors in cartilage repair

Along with Dr. Kennedy, Prof. C. Niek van Dijk of the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam and president of ESSKA, and Dr. Richard D. Ferkel of the Southern California Orthopedic Institute are co-chairing the Congress. It has attracted quite a bit of attention in the orthopedic and sports medicine communities worldwide. Participants from 35 countries have registered to date.

After the Congress, organizers plan to publish the recommendations and guidelines established during the conference. The material will fall into three main categories: 1) diagnostic strategy; 2) treatment strategy; and 3) outcome measurement.

About ESSKA Ankle and Foot Associates
ESSKA is one of the largest and most respected orthopedic societies in Europe and throughout the world.  The Ankle and Foot Associates are a subspecialty section of ESSKA that strives to group current or future European key opinion leaders in the field of sport related ankle and foot pathology.  The Associates also seeks to provide an appropriate educational setting that maintains the highest level of professional standards in order to promote continuous advancements in professional knowledge and improved treatment of sports-related ankle and foot pathology, with a special focus on ankle arthroscopy. The Associates seek to promote and maintain professional standards to provide the best care to patients with sport related ankle and foot pathology.






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