Also known as: osteochondrosis, osteochondritis dissecans, OCD, overuse injury.

What is osteochondritis?

OCD is a bone/cartilage/joint abnormality in which small fragments/pieces of bone or cartilage die, come loose from the rest of the bone, and then lie in a joint. It is most common in the knees, elbows, hips and ankles of adolescents (though can occur at any age) 10-20 years of age.

What causes osteochondritis? 

Lack of blood flow to an area of bone is usually the cause of OCD, thought to result from repetitive injury from twisting, bending or “jarring” of a joint, typically from playing sports.

What are the symptoms of osteochondritis? 

Pain and tenderness, swelling, “water on the knee” and/or stiffness, difficulty straightening the joint, popping, locking or “catching” of a joint or joint weakness, and decreased range of motion are all potential symptoms of osteochondritis.

What are osteochondritis care options?

In most children OCD defects will heal on their own over 2-4 months with rest, and avoidance of vigorous sports. Crutches, splints, physical therapy and depending on a number of factors, surgery are all other potential treatments depending on response to conservative treatment and severity.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: June 21, 2019 02:24 AM