Health Information

Osteochondritis Dissecans

What is osteochondritis dissecans?

Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a term used to describe bone and cartilage injuries. It most often affects the knee, but the elbow and ankle can also be affected. Lesions have been reported in other parts of the body, too.

When you have OCD, a portion of the bone or cartilage has partially or completely separated from the surface of the joint. That's how the condition got its name: osteo (bone), chondrus (cartilage), itis (inflammation) and dissecans (to separate.)

No one knows why OCD happens, but we believe it is due to repetitive trauma. In addition, factors such as a slightly decreased blood supply in some locations and genetic factors may contribute to the condition.

The most common symptoms of OCD are:

How we can help — treatment options

Orthopaedic surgeons at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia use plain X-rays to assist in making a diagnosis. Other radiographic studies such as CT scans and MRI also may be used to evaluate these lesions.

The first step in treating OCD is to modify your activities. You may need to change your sport or stop all activity in it. Cast treatment and weight bearing or protected weight bearing also can be a useful part of a treatment program.

If nonoperative treatment doesn't produce the desired effect, surgical intervention may be necessary. We may attempt to stimulate new bone formation or secure or remove a loose piece of the bone.

  • Print
  • Share

Contact Us