Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Description Of The Injury: This disease usually occurs spontaneously with no precedent in young adults. It often occurs due to a reduction in blood flow to the knee cartilage area and to the end of the femur bone. This may result in no damage and symptoms or may cause the cartilage to loosen, separate and degenerate causing pain and inflammation.

Injury Symptoms: The most common symptoms are pain at the knee, a locking sensation of the joint when flexing and extending, a weak or unstable feeling of the knee, stiffing of the knee and possible visible swelling and tenderness.

Additional Information

Home Treatments:

Conservative treatment is usually advised. This will include cutting back on activities that involve the use of the affected joint. The joint may need to be immobilized and if swelling is visible, ice can be applied 20 minute at a time to reduce the inflammation. A non steroidal anti inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or Tylenol will also prove helpful. Adequate rest will be the primary factor in at-home recovery.

Professional Medical Treatments:

If inflammation is consistent, a professional may administer a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation. Surgery is an option when the problem has not positively reacted from conservative treatment in the first three months. The surgery involves arthroscopy – where a small camera is placed into the joint space to view the damage, which is then removed. Cartilage pieces may also be reattached using pins and screws.

Physical Therapy and Exercises:

Physical recovery from osteochondritis dissecans will involve stretches of the knee joint. If surgery was needed, the stretches may first involve minor movements such as ankle pumps and low degree leg raises. Supine knee bends, full leg raises in all the knees’ range of motion, stationary cycling and assisted walking will help complete recovery.

Exercise Techniques to Prevent Injury:

Because osteochondritis dissecans often occurs spontaniously, there is not adequate form of prevention. Recognizing the pain early on and following up with a proper diagnosis will help reduce the risk of this injury from turning into a disability. Engaging in regular exercise that improves blood flow and does not overtly impact the cartilage such as swimming, cycling and yoga, will help prevent this injury from occurring.

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