Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans (os-tee-o-kohn-DRY-tis DIS-uh-kanz) is a joint condition in which a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of the bone beneath it, comes loose from the end of a bone.

Caused by reduced blood flow to the end of a bone, osteochondritis dissecans occurs most often in young men, particularly after an injury to a joint. The knee is most commonly affected, although osteochondritis dissecans can occur in other joints, including your elbow, shoulder, hip and ankle.

What causes osteochondritis dissecans?

The cause of osteochondritis dissecans is often unknown. Theories include mild recurrent injuries or growth disturbances.

What are symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans?

Symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans are a direct result of the irregularity of the cartilage within the affected joint. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and even locking of the joint so that its range of motion is significantly limited to the point that it cannot be moved beyond a limited range. For example, when osteochondritis dissecans affects the elbow, the joint may not move beyond 90 degrees of extension instead of being able to fully extend straight to 180 degrees.

What is the prognosis of osteochondritis dissecans?

Indicators of a worse prognosis or outcome include a large-sized lesion, a lesion on a weight-bearing area, and older age of the patient.

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