© 2019 OA Knee Pain. All Rights Reserved.

Osteochondritis dissecans, or OCD, is a rare condition caused when a fragment of bone becomes loose in the joint. The condition’s cause differs depending on your age. For adults, OCD forms after the physis or epiphyseal plate has closed, while for young people, it can occur while still growing.

It is not only limited to the knee but can occur in the elbow, ankle, wrist, hand, shoulder or hip. The exact causes are unknown but it is believed there a number of contributing factors responsible, including:

  • Biochemical
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Repetitive trauma
  • Ischaemia
  • Ligamentous laxity
  • Abnormal ossification

Certain sports, such as rugby, football, boxing or running may also be a cause and can make the condition worsen significantly quicker.

The four stages of OCD

There are four stages to the condition, with each stage increasing the severity:

  • Stage 1 - the articular cartilage will thicken.
  • Stage 2 - the articular cartilage is interrupted.
  • Stage 3 - the underlying subchondral bone undergoes changes
  • Stage 4 - bone has become loose in the joint

Symptoms of OCD

OCD is likely to display symptoms during a person’s teenage years with knee pain being the first signal. Other symptoms include swelling, a sensation in the knee, joint locking and a feeling that the joint is going to give way.

If you suspect OCD, it is important that you make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible so they can make a diagnosis and prescribe suitable treatment. Your doctor can diagnose your condition in a number of ways, including:

  • An X-ray
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Scintigraphy

Treatment

The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better outlook for recovery. If the condition is caught while you are young, there is a greater chance of quicker healing. Otherwise, aggressive treatments may need to be used.

Non-drug treatments include stopping all activities, limiting walking and attending physiotherapy regularly to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Immobilising or protecting the knee joint with a brace are also viable options.

If the pain is unbearable, painkillers and other NSAIDS can be used to reduce it but will not alleviate the disease.


Surgical solutions are only taken as a last resort, for severe cases or when other treatments have not worked. Keyhole surgery or arthroscopy is usually the method used for one of the following options:

  • Arthroscopic subchondral drilling
  • Arthroscopic excision, drilling and curettage
  • Open removal of all loose bones
  • Bone grafting
  • Autologous chondrocyte transplantation

Depending on the type of surgery you have undergone, recovery can take between 6-10 weeks. Patients should ensure they rest to allow the injury to heal, follow the instructions of any doctors or physiotherapists and make an appointment should symptoms persist.

How would you rate the information on this page? (Your feedback is greatly appreciated)

What next?

Sign up to the OA Knee Pain newsletter

OA Knee Pain Social Board

Bringing you the latest news, research and treatment breakthroughs from the world of osteoarthritis

Visit our blog

Filter
  • blog
  • facebook
#

How Does Age Affect People's Experiences Of OA?


​When we think about arthritis, there is a tendency to categorise it as an old person’s disease. We envision the little old lady struggling to make it across the road or the old man with a walking stick. But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. There are thought to be around 10 million people living in the UK with the disease and these cover a range of ages from children right up to those over the age of 65.

#

How Does The Body Clock Affect The Development Of OA


Various factors can affect our body clocks but this is usually a temporary situation. A series of late nights, shift patterns that change and long flights can produce temporary effects such as mood changes and sleep disruption. We commonly refer to this as jet lag and do not view it as a serious problem but it is now widely recognised that our biological clocks are also important to our general well-being and health.

#

How Does Obesity Affect Your Risk Of OA Knee Pain


​Obesity has been known to be a serious health problem for many years, but the impact that being overweight can have on your knees is not always recognised. Seriously obese people are fourteen times more likely to develop osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee than people whose weight is within healthy parameters, so it follows that maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of knee pain due to this disease.

#

What Are The Differences Between OA And Other Types Of Arthritis?


​There are over 100 different types of arthritis. The most common include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), fibromyalgia and gout. Although there are many similarities between the different types of arthritis and the pain they cause, knowing which type you have can make the difference between successful treatment or further debilitation.

#

Where Can I Turn to For Support For OA Knee Pain


Osteoarthritis causes increasing joint pain and stiffness in the knee. Tenderness and swelling are also likely to be present. This may be particularly the case immediately after you wake up, after overusing your knee, or when resting.