Osteochondritis Dissecans Of The Knee

Osteochondritis Dissecans: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

If you or someone you know is experiencing joint pain or suspects the presence of Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD), this article aims to provide you with valuable information about this condition, its symptoms, causes, diagnostic tests, available treatments, and long-term outlook.

OrthoNeuro is committed to helping patients understand their orthopedic conditions and find the best treatment options for a healthy and active life. Our specialists are experts in treating a variety of knee conditions. Book an appointment at one of our multiple locations in Columbus, OH today!

What Is Osteochondritis Dissecans in the Knees?

Osteochondritis Dissecans is a condition that affects the joints, particularly the knees, although it can also occur in other joints. It involves the separation of a fragment of bone and articular cartilage from the underlying bone.

The separation affects the blood supply to the bone fragment, causing it to break down. This creates an OCD lesion, leading to pain, swelling, and potential joint dysfunction. This condition often occurs in young adults, especially those who engage in repetitive stress activities or have experienced joint injuries.

The Symptoms of Osteochondritis Dissecans

The symptoms of Osteochondritis Dissecans may occur gradually or suddenly, depending on the severity of the condition.

The symptoms of Osteochondritis Dissecans often include the following:

  • Joint swelling
  • Joint pain
  • Catching or locking sensations within the affected joint
  • Weakness in the joint
  • Decreased range of motion

These symptoms may occur gradually or suddenly, depending on the severity of the condition.

Causes of Osteochondritis Dissecans

The exact cause of Osteochondritis Dissecans is still not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to disruptions in the blood supply to the affected bone and cartilage. Repetitive trauma, such as frequent impact on the joint during sports or other physical activities, can contribute to the development of OCD.

How Is Osteochondritis Dissecans Diagnosed

To diagnose Osteochondritis Dissecans, orthopedic surgeons utilize a combination of physical examination and imaging tests. During a physical exam, the doctor will assess the affected joint, checking for swelling, tenderness, and any limitations in range of motion.

Imaging tests, such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are crucial in identifying OCD lesions, evaluating the extent of damage to the overlying cartilage and bone, and seeing whether the loose piece is still in place or whether it has moved into the joint space.

After a proper diagnosis has been made, your doctor will determine the appropriate treatment approach. These tests help orthopedic surgeons create a comprehensive picture of the condition and guide the treatment plan.

How Is Osteochondritis Dissecans Treated?

The treatment of Osteochondritis Dissecans can vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual factors.

In mild cases, nonsurgical treatment would likely be the first line of approach. This may include activity modification, physical therapy, and medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in strengthening the surrounding muscles and improving joint stability.

In more severe cases or when conservative measures fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be necessary. Orthopedic surgeons employ various surgical techniques to treat OCD, such as arthroscopy, which involves the use of small incisions and a camera to remove loose bodies and repair damaged cartilage. In some instances, surgical procedures may also involve stimulating the development of new blood vessels in the affected area to enhance healing.

Long-Term Outlook

The likelihood of complete recovery and a return to pre-injury activities is higher in younger patients. However, young patients may need to discontinue sports activities that involve repetitive motions, such as throwing.

In contrast, adults with Osteochondritis Dissecans are more prone to requiring surgery and are less likely to achieve full recovery. Additionally, adults have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis in the affected joint.

Typically, Osteochondritis Dissecans does not recur once the patient has healed. However, there are instances where the condition appears to have healed as symptoms temporarily subside, only for them to potentially resurface over time.

Get Treated by OrthoNeuro Today

Osteochondritis Dissecans in the knees can be a challenging condition, but with timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment, individuals can regain their joint health and lead active lives.

If you are experiencing symptoms or suspect you may have Osteochondritis Dissecans, we encourage you to reach out to OrthoNeuro, a leading orthopedic practice with multiple locations in Columbus, OH.

Our doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various knee conditions, and we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to our patients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards better joint health!


Medically reviewed by B. Rodney Comisar, MD, FAAOS

Knee Specialists


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