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Symptoms. Osteochondritis Dissecans

By Editorial Team (A)
November 29, 2021
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Osteochondritis dissecans symptoms

Osteochondritis dissecans typically produces the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain. It is the most frequently occurring symptom of osteochondritis dissecans. It usually is made worse by activities like walking uphill, climbing upstairs, or participating in sports. 
  • Joint locking or popping. The joints affected by osteochondritis dissecans can lock in one position or pop, especially if a loose piece of the cartilage gets stuck between moving parts of a joint. 
  • Weakness in a joint. The joint can feel as though it’s going to “give out” or is very weak. 
  • Decreased mobility. The affected extremity may not straighten completely.
  • Tenderness and swelling. Tissues around the joint affected by osteochondritis can become tender and swollen. 

When to see a doctor

Pain or soreness in a joint that lasts more than a few days should be evaluated by a doctor. Other signs and symptoms to report to your healthcare provider include swelling or loss of mobility in a joint.

Osteochondritis dissecans diagnosis

  • X-rays. X-rays can reveal problems in the body’s joints, such as osteochondritis dissecans. Joints on both sides of the body may be taken for comparison. For example, both the left and the right knee. 
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging). This imaging study uses radio waves rather than radiation and a magnetic field to produce very detailed images. These scans look at both bones and soft tissues. It is often used to help diagnose osteochondritis dissecans. In addition, it can provide details about the severity of the condition. 
  • CT (Computerized tomography). This study uses radiation (X-rays) images from several different positions to provide images in cross-sections. Cartilage and bones can be viewed on CT. It can be used to detect the location of pieces of loose cartilage and bone in the joint. 

Complications

Complications related to osteochondritis dissecans include an increased risk of osteoarthritis developing in the affected joint over time.

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