Osteochondritis Dissecans Knee Condition

Osteochondritis Dissecans Knee ConditionOsteochondritis Dissecans knee condition, also abbreviated as OCD (not to be confused with the behavioral condition), is a joint disorder in which a fragment of cartilage loosens and separates itself from the rest of the joint following an injury in the affected knee.

Osteohondritis Dissecans most commonly affects the knee joint and occurs in young men and athletes. However, it could also occur in the hip and ankle joints, following a fracture or trauma. Osteochondritis Dissecans is a fairly rare condition occurring in only 20 in every 100,000 athletes (according to the Statistics provided by the National Health Services, UK).

Nevertheless, this condition should not be ignored, as delayed or inadequate repair could lead to permanent knee joint damage.


The first and most common cause of Osteochondritis Dissecans knee condition is a localized fracture of the knee joint. In essence, a fracture in the joint causes a rupture of the micro-vessels that supply blood to the joint.

The result is a shortage of blood supply; a state defined as ischemia. With no blood supply, the joint and bones will undergo avascular necrosis, a sort of tissue death that occurs following a blood shortage. In addition, repeated stress on the knee can also contribute to Osteochondritis Dissecans even if there is no previous fracture.

OCD is genetically linked to family history. In fact, it can place certain individuals more at risk of developing the condition, especially if he or she is involved in sports.


Osteochondritis Dissecans knee symptoms include:

  • Localized pain in the knee joint. The patient could experience the pain while up the stairs, climbing up a hill, running, etc.
  • Joint locking during legs movements. In other words, one might feel like their leg is stuck into one position, unable to move.
  • Decreased knee joint motion. OCD can limit legs movements.
  • Swelling, tenderness & red. This occurs because of the inflammatory response that takes place in the joint.

See other potential knee conditions by symptoms in our diagnosis article.


When the symptoms of Osteochondritis Dissecans knee condition start to worsen, it’s time to see a doctor. Generally, he or she will perform an interview which is referred to as “patient’s history”. A series of questions will be asked to evaluated your family history, lifestyle and involvement in sports.

Ultimately, the definitive diagnosis is made with imaging procedures such as a CT scan, X-ray or MRI. A bone scan may also be requested.


The treatment of Osteochondritis Dissecans depends on the progression of the disease at the time of diagnosis. If the condition is still at its early stages, conservative measures are taken to limit further damage and to allow the bone and cartilage to heal. With that said, the Doctor can recommend bed rest and abstinence from any sort of sports.

However, if the condition is advanced, surgery is recommended to reconstruct the damaged joint. Surgical options include arthroscopic surgery and osteochondral autograft transfer. Surgery recovery time can last several years, so this should only be used when all other options are exhausted.


Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to battle with nature. Some cases of Osteochondritis Dissecans are genetically determined. In those cases you can avoid certain risk factors such as continuous exercise.

You can also learn proper techniques for exercise or sport which may help reduce the chance of joint injury. It is also possible to strengthen your joints by taking some supplements such as chondroitin to fortify the cartilage and make it more resistant to physical damage.

Other related issues you should read about:

Have You Ever Had a Osteochondritis Dissecans knee condition? Please Comment Below.

Article last updated on January 8th, 2019, first published on July 10, 2013.

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