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Bone Chips in the Elbow (Osteochondritis Dissecans)


 What are bone chips in the elbow?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of myself?
 How can I help prevent bone chips in the elbow?

Bone Chips in the Elbow (Osteochondritis Dissecans): Illustration
Bone Chips in the Elbow (Osteochondritis Dissecans): IllustrationClick here to view a full size picture.

What are bone chips in the elbow?

Bone chips in the elbow are small pieces of bone or cartilage that have come loose and float around in the elbow joint. Cartilage is the tissue that lines and cushions the surface of the joints. The pieces of bone and cartilage usually come from the upper arm bone.

The medical term for this condition is osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow.

What is the cause?

The chips usually result from an injury to the elbow or from a lack of blood supply to the bone. Gymnasts and athletes who throw a lot during their sport may also get bone chips in the elbow.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history. Tests may include:

How is it treated?

You will need to rest your elbow and avoid activities that cause pain until the symptoms are gone. This may take 6 to 12 weeks.

Sometimes surgery is needed to remove large fragments and repair the joint surface.

How can I take care of myself?

To keep swelling down and help relieve pain:

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent bone chips in the elbow?

Bone chips are usually caused by injuries to the elbow that are not easily prevented.

healthinformatics info

References

DeLee, Jesse C., David Drez, and Mark D. Miller, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice, Saunders; 3rd ed. 2009.

Kisner, Carol, and Lynn Colby, Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques, F. A. Davis Company; 6th ed, 2012.

Mellion, Morris B., W. Michael Walsh, Christopher Madden, Margot Putukian, and Guy L. Shelton, The Team Physician's Handbook, Hanley & Belfus; 3 ed, 2001.

Micheli, Lyle J. and Mark Jenkins, The Sports Medicine Bible: Prevent, Detect, and Treat Your Sports Injuries Through the Latest Medical Techniques, HarperCollins, 1995.

O’Connor, Francis G, et al. ACSM’s Sports Medicine A Comprehensive Review. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons. Web. http://www.orthoinfo.aaos.org.

Sarwark, John. Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2010.



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Last Modified: 2014-02-01

Last Reviewed: 2014-01-23

Website Updated: October 2014

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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


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