What Happens To Untreated Osteochondritis Dissecans & When to Go To Doctor For It?

Osteochondritis Dissecans refer to a health condition, which develops in joints and is common in adolescents and children. The problem takes place whenever a small bone segment starts to separate from the surrounding region because of a lack of enough blood supply. Because of this, small bone pieces and cartilage covering them start to crack and to become loose.

Osteochondritis Dissecans mainly affect the ankle, knee, and elbow, but in some cases, it affects other joints as well. In most of the cases related to Osteochondritis Dissecans in children, the affected cartilage and bone heal on its own, especially if a child still grows. In young adults and growing children, Osteochondritis Dissecans may cause severe effects.

The lesions related to Osteochondritis Dissecans have a relatively higher chance related to separating from various surrounding bones and cartilages. In some cases, the lesions even detach as well as float within the joint. In such cases, you have to undergo surgery.(1)

What Happens To Untreated Osteochondritis Dissecans?

Each joint present in your body contains cartilage that helps in the easy movement of joints and protects bones. The problem of Osteochondritis Dissecans takes place whenever you experience an interruption in the flow of blood to cartilage and thereby, result in the softening of the bones.

If you leave the condition untreated, it damages the joint cartilage and loose cartilage, as well as bone pieces, break off within the joint. If we talk about the long-term condition of Osteochondritis Dissecans, the untreated condition results in arthritis. In most of the cases, the problem affects your elbows, knees, and ankles.(3)

When To Visit Doctor For Osteochondritis Dissecans?

  • You should schedule an appointment with your doctor if you experience persistent pain and/or soreness in the elbow, knee, or any other joint. Moreover, if you experience an inability in joint movement through its complete motion range or joint swelling, you should immediately call or schedule your appointment with a doctor to cure your Osteochondritis Dissecans.(4)
  • Depending on your underlying condition i.e. extent of your joint pain, your family doctor may refer to an orthopedic doctor or orthopedic surgeon. Meanwhile, you have to-
    Note down each of the symptoms you experience and when they start.
  • You should prepare a list containing a few of the major medical details. These include your underlying other health conditions, names of supplements, vitamins, and medications you intake.
  • You should take note of the latest injuries and/or accidents, which may cause damage to your back area.
  • You should bring your family member or friend along with you if possible. When you get someone to accompany you, you may easily remember whatever the things told by your doctor.
  • You should write down different questions to discuss with your doctor before scheduling your appointment.(5)

Common Symptoms Of Osteochondritis Dissecans

Depending on your affected joint, you may experience the following signs and symptoms associated with Osteochondritis Dissecans are-

  • Tenderness and swelling of the skin across your affected joint/joints
  • Pain is a common symptom related to the condition, which takes place by various physical activities, like climbing a hill, walking stairs, and playing sports.
  • The affected joint of a patient may stick, pop, or lock in a single position in the case of loose fragment trapped between two different bones at the time of movement.
  • Your joints may feel as weakening and giving way.
  • You may experience a reduction in your motion range or fail to make your affected limb straight completely.(2)

Conclusion

To conclude, we should say that Osteochondritis Dissecans lead to severe complications if you choose to leave it untreated. Hence, whenever you experience severe symptoms, you should immediately go to your family doctor followed by an orthopedic doctor or orthopedic surgeon.

References:

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