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Management of osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)

Albert C Hergenroeder, MD
Brian S Harvey, DO
Section Editor
Richard G Bachur, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) refers to osteonecrosis of subchondral bone and most often occurs in the knee, elbow, or ankle of school-age and adolescent children where it causes pain. Plain radiographs are frequently diagnostic. Sports medicine and orthopedic specialists usually determine the staging and stability of OCD lesions by magnetic resonance imaging. Initial treatment of stable lesions typically consists of rest, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, avoidance of high intensity activities, and physical therapy. Patients who are skeletally immature frequently do well with nonoperative therapy. Patients who have large lesions or develop intraarticular foreign bodies usually need surgery.

This topic will discuss the management of OCD. The clinical manifestations and diagnosis of OCD and other causes of knee, elbow, or ankle pain in the young athlete are discussed separately:

(See "Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD): Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)

(See "Approach to acute knee pain and injury in children and skeletally immature adolescents".)

(See "Approach to chronic knee pain or injury in children or skeletally immature adolescents".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 11, 2017.
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