Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Elbow

 Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a condition that develops in joints, most often in children and adolescents. It occurs when a small segment of bone begins to separate from its surrounding region due to a lack of blood supply. As a result, the small piece of bone and the cartilage covering it begin to crack and loosen.

Causes and risk factors

Repetitive high stress forces on the joint can result in a series of minor injuries on the elbow that can eventually lead to bony fragmentation and ultimately detachment of the bony fragment from the bone. Commonly seen in the adolescent sporting population; who partake in repetitive throwing or overhead activities such as baseball and gymnastics. More frequently seen in males (ages 10-14) than females and often affecting the dominant arm.

 symptoms

  • Lateral Pain over the joint
  • Stiffness
  • Feeling of instability
  • Stiffness after resting
  • Locking
  • Giving way
  • Popping/clicking

treatment

In most cases, OCD lesions in children and young teens will heal on their own, especially when the body still has a great deal of growing to do. Resting and avoiding vigorous sports until symptoms resolve will often relieve pain and swelling. There are different surgical techniques for treating OCD, depending upon the individual case.