Osteochondritis

Robert G. Parker
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Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

For a young athlete, acquiring any medical condition that attacks the joints is a serious concern. Getting benched during the sports season is unacceptable for many individuals, and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is often to blame for such an occurrence. But this condition doesn’t just target athletes; anyone can develop this painful joint problem under the right circumstances. In order to prevent your own OCD formation, contact our Houston office as soon as you detect a problem.

What is it?

This podiatric problem occurs where the ends of two bones meet. While a healthy joint will be able to easily slide back and forth with the aid of surrounding cartilage, in a person with this disorder the cartilage detaches from the bone itself and reduces flexibility and range of motion. The detachment is developed as the joint begins to crack and loosen because of a lack of blood flow to the region. Most commonly affecting boys age 9 to 20, osteochondritis typically forms in a single joint, causing knee pain or elbow pain, but it can afflict many bones at once as well.

What are the symptoms of osteochondritis?

As the cartilage surrounding a joint deteriorates, most patients will experience swelling, tenderness, and pain in the afflicted area. These symptoms are only further exacerbated by physical activity. Without the cartilage to ease movement, some patients may experience their bones locking together or popping over each other. In such cases, medical attention should be sought immediately for these reductions in range of motion. As damage accumulates to the joint affected by OCD, it will eventually cause fatigue, and many individuals will feel a sense of weakness around these structures within the body. While this condition is hard to diagnose with a physical, X-rays, MRI, and CT-scans have all proven to be very adept at identifying OCD.

What causes osteochondritis?

Though the catalyst for this joint problem is unknown, there are a variety of factors in the formation of osteochondritis that patients should be aware of. This foot and ankle condition is most likely to occur following a direct injury to the joint. Consistent damage to the area during sports activities will also lead to the weakening of joints. While there could be a genetic predisposition to developing this disorder, it is most commonly seen in males age 9 to 20 during bone development.

How is osteochondritis treated?

Once a case of OCD has been detected, many children may be able to recover without the use of external resources. As patients age, this condition becomes much more difficult to treat and the likelihood of surgical intervention increases. Most instances of this joint problem are resolved with conservative measures focusing on rest, immobilization, and physical therapy. Athletes stand a better chance of recovery if they learn proper body mechanics for all of their activities. If pain and swelling continues or a lesion becomes severe enough, surgery may be needed to correct this problem. Every case is unique and Dr. Robert Parker will work with each patient to find the treatment method that best suits their needs.

At Parker Foot & Ankle we believe in helping our patients regain the mobility they’ve lost through various foot and ankle conditions. Contact our Houston office at 281-497-2850 and regain the health you once had. Appointments can also be made with Dr. Robert Parker online.