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Bone Chips in the Knee (Osteochondritis Dissecans)


 What is osteochondritis dissecans of the knee?
 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 knee?

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

What is osteochondritis dissecans of the knee?

Osteochondritis dissecans is a knee problem caused by an injury to the bones or cartilage of the knee joint. The cartilage covering the femur (thighbone) or patella (kneecap) is usually affected. (Cartilage is the tissue that lines and cushions the surface of the joints.) Fragments or chips of bone or cartilage may come loose and float around in the knee joint.

Other terms for this condition are chondral fracture and osteochondral fracture. The fragments may also be called loose bodies or a joint mouse.

What is the cause?

The chips usually result from a knee injury that caused a piece of bone or cartilage to be chipped off the end of the thighbone or the back of the kneecap. It could happen after one serious injury to the knee or after repeated minor injuries. A problem with the blood supply to the bone may be part of the cause.

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 knee and avoid activities that cause pain until the symptoms are gone. This may take several weeks.

Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the fragments and repair the surface of the thighbone or kneecap.

How can I take care of myself?

To keep swelling down and help relieve pain:

You may need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example, you may need to bicycle or swim instead of run. You may also need to rest if your knee is swollen and painful.

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 knee?

Bone chips are usually caused by injuries to the knee 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.

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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Published by RelayHealth. © 2014 RelayHealth and/or one of its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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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