Treatment of osteochondritis dissecans is intended to restore the normal functioning of the affected joint and to relieve pain, as well as reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. No single treatment works for everybody. In children whose bones are still growing, the bone defect may heal with a period of rest and protection.
Initially, your doctor will likely recommend conservative measures, which might include:
- Resting your joint. Avoid activities that stress your joint, such as jumping and running if your knee is affected. You might need to use crutches for a time, especially if pain causes you to limp. Your doctor might also suggest wearing a splint, cast or brace to immobilize the joint for a few weeks.
- Physical therapy. Most often, this therapy includes stretching and range-of-motion exercises and strengthening exercises for the muscles that support the involved joint. Physical therapy is commonly recommended after surgery, as well.
If you have a loose fragment in your joint or if conservative treatments don't help after four to six months, you might need surgery. The type of surgery will depend on the size and stage of the injury and how mature your bones are.
July 09, 2015
- Osteochondritis dissecans. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00610. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Hergenroeder AC, et al. Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD): Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Hergenroeder AC, et al. Management of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Knee problems. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Knee_Problems/default.asp#15. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- Chambers HG, et al. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons clinical practice guideline on: The diagnosis and treatment of osteochondritic dissecans. Rosemont, Ill.: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www.aaos.org/research/guidelines/OCDGuideline.asp. Accessed June 23, 2015.
- A guide to safety for young athletes. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00307. Accessed June 23, 2015.