Conditions / Knee / Children
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a condition of the joints most commonly in children and adolescents and occurs in ossification centres (areas where bone tissue is being formed).
OCD is when a segment of bone begins to separate from its surrounding region due to a lack of blood supply and this results in cracking and loosening of the small piece of bone and cartilage that cover it.
It’s unknown what causes the disruption to the blood supply that results in OCD, but it is believe to be multifactorial, including trauma, ischemia, abnormal ossification centres, genetic predisposition, or some combination of these factors.
Initial symptoms of OCD include pain and swelling of the joint – most commonly brought on by sports or physical activity with advanced cases having joint catching or locking.
OCD typically effects just one joint with the knee ankle and elbow being the most common joints affected although it can occur in other joints and some children can have several joints with OCD.
In many cases, particularly if a child is still growing, the affected bone and cartilage will heal on their own. However in grown children and young adults OCD can have more severe effects. For these patients the OCD lesions have a greater chance of separating from the surrounding bone and cartilage and may detach to float around inside the joint. It may be necessary for surgery in these cases.