Osteochondritis Dessicans

This condition most frequently affects the knee joint although it can rarely involve the elbow (Panners disease) or the ankle. A small area of bone below the articular cartilage becomes separated from the surrounding bone. The cause for this is not entirely clear but is thought to be due to damage to the blood supply which may be spontaneous or due to repetitive trauma. Over time the lesion may heal (in younger patients) or the fragment can become completely separated, floating around the knee as a loose body.

Patients usually present after 10 years of age although younger children can be affected. The complaint is usually of pain. In larger lesions or if the fragment becomes loose, swelling or mechanical symptoms (locking, catching, giving way) may be prevalent.