As more and more children sign up for organized sports, knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or meniscus tears have continued to rise. But less well known is osteochondritis dissecans, or OCD – an injury that can have a devastating effect on the knee joint if not diagnosed early and managed properly. Kids’ worlds are turned completely upside down by OCD, when they go from the playing field to crutches.
OCD starts when a small area of bone just under the knee’s smooth cartilage loses some of its blood supply. The starved bone tissue starts to weaken and crumble, and, without this scaffold to support it, the cartilage can weaken as well. Sections of cartilage can even break off as free-floating bodies in the joint space – sometimes with pieces of bone attached to them – leaving behind large defects in the joint’s surfaces.