Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a condition that affects a joint and its articular cartilage, causing separation of the cartilage from the bone and resulting in pain. This disease can occur at various joints in the body, but we see it most commonly in the knee.
Three bones come together to make the knee joint — the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and patella (knee cap). There are three articulations within this joint, one at the femur and tibia, and one at the femur and patella. Each of these articulations are covered by articular cartilage, which provides a smooth, slippery surface that protects the bones and allows them to move easily. In OCD, a loss of blood flow causes a tiny segment of the articular cartilage to separate from the bone.
The cause of OCD is unclear to this day, but we tend to see several factors that play into it. In our practice as a sports clinic, we often treat OCD that has developed as the result of trauma to the knee, either from a fall, a sprain, or a tackle. Such an impact can damage the articular cartilage, causing the separation. It’s postulated that OCD can also develop over time in athletes as the result of repetitive motion and microtraumas. Other risk factors might also contribute to the development of OCD, including genetics, growth disorders, and ischemia.
When OCD occurs, the entire knee becomes irritated because of the separation, so it produces extra synovial fluid in the joint. As such, swelling is a sure side effect of OCD, along with pain, stiffness, and instability. Patients with OCD might notice a change in the mechanics of their knee as well, including a clicking, a locking, or a giving away feeling. OCD may be present and go undetected for years before showing up after heavy use of the joint.
At MOTUS we will look for the above-mentioned symptoms as well as check to see if the injured knee feels warmer to the touch and if there is atrophy in the quads. We deal with a large list of sport-specific knee injuries on a regular basis, and have years of experience diagnosing the cause of knee pain. Once we have decided that you are dealing with OCD, we’ll work on building a treatment and recovery plan that will help you heal and prevent further issues.