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Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a condition which affects the knee.  The articular cartilage within the joint softens resulting in loose fragments of bone.  These fragments may remain in place (stable) or break off and float around causing pain and dysfunction.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Poorly localised pain

  • Swelling

  • Intermittent pain

  • Locking of the knee

  • Giving way of the knee

  • Aggravated by climbing stairs, running

What Causes It?

  • Repetitive trauma

  • Genetic tendency

  • Poor blood supply resulting in necrosis of the cartilage and underlying subchondral bone

  • Rapid growth

  • High impact sports

How to Self Manage

  • Rest from or modify aggravating activities

  • Try walking and swimming as alternate forms of exercise

  • Speak to your GP or pharmacist RE suitable medication for pain relief

  • Seek x-ray or scan to confirm diagnosis


  • Rest may be enough to settle pain and allow tissues time to repair

  • An X-ray and MRI will determine the extent of damage

  • If not managed, there is a likelihood the OCD will progress to osteoarthritis.

  • Once loose bodies are present and are causing pain and restriction to movement, then surgery is necessary

How Physio Helps

  • Assess your knee for OCD

  • Refer for investigation if necessary

  • Review training and sport for activity modification

  • Post-operative care

  • Massage

  • Joint mobilisation

  • Prescription of exercises to regain full movement and strength

For an online consultation click here
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