Osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum is an injury that often afflicts young athletes, especially young gymnasts and baseball pitchers. In this video, I discuss the problem and its treatment options.
Like osteochondritis dissecans of the knee, osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum, or OCD, involves a similar lesion in the elbow of young athletes. The bone under the articular cartilage starts to die for unknown reasons. Often the articular cartilage remains intact. Occasionally it can fragment, leaving a loose piece of bone and cartilage floating in the elbow and cause pain and popping.
Signs and symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum
A young athlete will complain of dull pain or soreness and swelling. If the lesion has broken free in the joint, he or she might complain of catching, clicking, or locking.
Treatment options for osteochondritis dissecans of the capitellum
Young athletes with open growth plates can often avoid surgery. Often rest from sports can help the lesion heal.
If the osteochondritis dissecans lesion is loose within the joint or felt to be unstable by x-ray or MRI, surgery is often necessary. The nature of the surgery depends on the nature of the lesion. Options range from arthroscopically debriding the lesion or removing it and drilling holes to try to stimulate fibrocartilage formation. Occasionally cylinders of bone and cartilage can be placed in the defect to try to recreate the normal contour of the joint.
Elbow injury: 5 serious injuries in athletes and active people
Elbow injury: Common injuries suffered by young baseball pitchers
Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.