We know that elbow pain can result from common causes such as a broken bone, tendinitis and arthritis. But when a child or teen report having a sore elbow after sport, without incidence of sudden trauma - the cause may not seem so clear. It is worth investigating whether they have developed Osteochontritis dissecans.
What is Osteochondritis Dissecans?
Elbow Osteochondritis dissecans is a condition at the elbow joint, where bone under the cartilage dies due to lack of blood flow.
The bone & cartilage become damaged which results in pain and decreased movement at the joint.
This may result sudden injury and fracture (like a fall on the outstretched hand). Or from damage to the bone from repetitive trauma (for example during participation in sporting activities particularly involving throwing actions).
Symptoms of Osteochondritis dissecans include:
Diagnosis of Osteochondritis dissecans:
If you think you or your child may have developed Osteochondritis dissecans it is best to book an appointment to discuss with your doctor. As diagnosis is usually made from reviewing x-ray or MRI of the involved elbow.
Treatment for Osteochondritis dissecans:
Treatment is determined by the degree of damage to the bone. In some instances, symptoms can be managed without operation with hand therapy alone. However often surgical advice is recommended, as an operation may be required to remove any bone fragment from the joint.