What is OCD?
Osteochondritis dissecans is a joint condition characterized by the loss of cartilage due to inadequate blood supply. In advanced stages, the dying cartilage can break free, causing pain and hindering motion of the joint. This condition is most commonly observed among children and adolescence, and primarily presents itself in the knees. Other joints, however, such as elbows and ankles can be affected. Depending on the severity of the condition, an individual may have few or no symptoms, or may require surgery if they are experiencing persistent pain.
What are the symptoms associated with OCD?
- Pain: this is the most common symptom experienced by people with OCD, and may be triggered physical activity that applies strain to the affected joint.
- Swelling: the tissue surrounding the affected joint may swell and become tender.
- Joint locking: this may be caused by a loose fragment getting caught in the joint and inhibiting its motion.
- Joint weakness: may experience joint collapse or instability.
- Decreased range of motion: might not be able to fully straighten the affected joint.
What can cause OCD?
To date, the exact cause of OCD is unknown. Injury or repetitive trauma to the joint may result in reduced blood flow. Some individuals may also be genetically predisposed to developing this disorder.
Who is most at risk for developing OCD?
OCD occurs most commonly in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 20, who are highly involved in active sports.
What are potential health complications associated with OCD?
Joints affected with OCD are more at risk of eventually developing arthritis.
How can OCD be diagnosed?
- X-rays: can show joint abnormalities.
- MRI: can provide a detailed view of bone and cartilage, used when x-rays appear normal but symptoms persist.
- CT: can provide a detailed, cross-sectional view of bone, useful for identifying loose fragments.
What are available treatments for OCD?
- Rest: avoid excessive stress to the affected joint, crutches or braces may be used to relieve pressure from the joint and immobilize it.
- Physical therapy: may involve strengthening muscles around the affected joint, as well as stretching and range-of-motion exercises.
- Surgery: may be necessary if more conservative measures do not help, or if a loose fragment is present in the joint.