Osteochondritis Dissecans – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Osteochondritis dissecans is the most common cause of a loose body in the joint space in adolescent patients. In osteochondritis dissecans, a loose piece of bone and cartilage separates from the end of the bone because of a loss of blood supply. OCD is a form of osteochondrosis limited to the articular epiphysis. Articular epiphyses fail as a result of compression. Both trauma and ischemia probably are involved in the pathology. The knee is most commonly affected, although osteochondritis dissecans also can occur in other joints, including your elbow and ankle. OCD lesions involve both bone and cartilage. These lesions differ from acute traumatic osteochondral fractures; however, they may manifest in a similar fashion. A type of osteochondritis in which articular cartilage and associated bone becomes partially or totally detached to form joint loose bodies. Osteochondritis dissecans is the result of the isolated loss of blood flow to a portion of the talus bone. Usually this occurs in conjunction with a history of trauma. It is sometimes also known as an osteochondral fracture of the talus, chip fractureof the articular surface or a chondral fracture of the talus.

Some people with OCD eventually develop osteoarthritis. It has a complex etiology, and can be caused by genetic, hormonal, environmental and nutritional factors. Most people diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans are teenagers and young adults. Osteochondritis dissecans may not cause any symptoms, or symptoms may begin suddenly, develop gradually, or come and go. Osteochondritis dissecans is being diagnosed more often in girls as they become more active in sports. Symptoms usually improve with protected immobilization of the joint. Early diagnosis and treatment of osteochondritis dissecans are important to minimize your risk of long-term disability. Possible causative factors for OCD include repetitive microtrauma, ischemia, genetic and endocrine factors, and anomalies of ossification. Osteochondritis dissecans can involve the bone and cartilage of virtually any joint. Usually, only a small portion of the affected cartilage is involved. The classification of osteochondritis dessicans is important because the prognosis (expected outcome) and treatment options are often linked to the severity of the osteochondritis dessicans. In animals, OCD is considered a developmental and metabolic disorder related to cartilage growth and endochondral ossification.

Causes of Osteochondritis dissecans

The common causes and risk factor’s of Osteochondritis dissecans include the following:

A slight blockage of a small artery or to an unrecognized injury or tiny fracture that damages the overlying cartilage.

Metabolic factors.

Growth disturbances.

An injury or trauma to the ankle.

Poor blood supply to the bone.

Genetic conditions (eg, multiple epiphyseal dysplasia).

Symptoms of Osteochondritis dissecans

Some sign and symptoms related to Osteochondritis dissecans are as follows:

Knee weakness.

A clicking sound when you move your joint.

Locking of the joint.

Swelling and tenderness of the skin over your joint.

Sharp knee pain.

Decreased joint movement.

Stiffness after resting.

Bulges along the joint surface.

Treatment of Osteochondritis dissecans

Here is list of the methods for treating Osteochondritis dissecans:

Arthroscopic surgery is a frequently used procedure to remove the loose cartilage and bone tissue from the joint.

Resting your joint.

Anti-inflammatory medication and bracing of the ankle during activity may also be required.

Adopting low-intensity physical therapy.

If the patient has loose bone or cartilage in the ankle by clinical examination or as seen on a CT or MRI, surgical intervention is required.

Cortisone is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation and swelling.

Visco-supplementation is the process of injecting a gel-like substance into the joint. This substance lubricates the cartilage, reducing pain and improving flexibility.