Osteochondritis dissecans


In osteochondritis dissecans, the bone beneath the cartilage of a joint is die from a lack of blood supply. The subsequent loss of this bone and cartilage may result in pain and can restrict joint motion.

Children and adolescents are most commonly affected by osteochondritis dissecans. After a joint injury or after several months of activity, particularly high-impact activity like jumping and running, that affects the joint, it might result in symptoms. While elbows, ankles, and other joints are also affected, the knee is where the condition commonly occurs.

Osteochondritis dissecans is staged by doctors based on the size of the damage, whether the fragment is completely or partially detached, and whether the fragment remains in place. You can experience few or no symptoms if the loosening piece of bone and cartilage stays in its proper position. The damage may self-heal in young children whose bones are still forming.

Surgery may be required if the fragment comes free and becomes stuck in your joint’s moving parts or if you experience chronic pain.


The following signs and symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans may be present depending on the afflicted joint:

  • Pain. Physical exertion, such as walking up stairs, climbing a hill, or participating in sports, may cause this osteochondritis dissecans symptom to flare up.
  • Swelling and tenderness. Your skin may be tender and swollen around your joint.
  • Joint popping or locking. In the event that a dislodged fragment obstructs the movement of adjacent bones, it can cause a joint to either audibly snap or become temporarily immobile in a particular position.
  • Reduced strength. You can experience a “give way” or weakening sensation in your joint.
  • Limited movement. You might not be able to fully straighten the injured limb.

Consult your doctor if your knee, elbow, or other joint is constantly painful or sore. Inability to move a joint through its entire range of motion or joint swelling are additional signs and symptoms that should prompt a call or visit to your doctor.


Osteochondritis dissecans has no recognized cause. Repetitive trauma, which involves multiple small instances of minor and often unnoticed injuries to a bone, can contribute to a decrease in blood flow to the affected bone’s end.

The mutations in ACAN gene, which is the source of a cartilage- building protein named aggrecan, can cause familial osteochondritis dissecans. The protein cannot properly produce cartilage as a result of the mutation, leaving the cartilage weak and disordered. It is unclear, though, how the brittle and disorderly cartilage contributes to lesions and bone separation.

Risk factors

Although the illness can affect anyone at any age, children and teenagers who participate heavily in sports and are between the ages of 10 and 20 are most likely to develop osteochondritis dissecans.