Osteochondrosis (osteochondritis)

Osteochondrosis (osteochondritis)

Information about osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

What is osteochondrosis/osteochondritis?

Osteochondrosis or osteochondritis is a disease of the epiphyseal plate and/or the epiphysis. It is more common in young people and especially in children. Some types are more common in boys and others in girls. The type of osteochondrosis varies according to the part of the body affected. The most commonly affected areas are the spine (Scheuermann’s disease), the femoral head (Perthes disease), the heel (Sever’s disease), the tarsal navicular (Kohler’s disease) and the second metatarsal (Freiberg’s Disease). Osteochondritis dissecans is a rare type of osteochondritis affecting the knee and elbow.

Causes of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

The exact cause of osteochondritis is yet unknown. The mechanism underlying the development of lesions is ischemia (reduced blood flow) of the affected area, which is most often caused by a trauma.

Symptoms of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

The symptoms of osteochondrosis may vary depending on the location of the disease. The most common symptoms are pain in the affected joint, sensitivity during movement and stiffness. In some cases, there may be a distortion, such as in case of osteochondrosis of the spine that often results in kyphosis (hump). Moreover, osteochondritis dissecans of the knee sometimes causes difficulty in walking (claudication).

Diagnosis of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

The diagnosis of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis is based on the patient’s clinical history and clinical examination by the orthopaedic surgeon. Meanwhile, simple rays and sometimes MRI play a key role in the diagnosis.

Treatment of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

The usual treatment of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis is based on analgesics (paracetamol and/or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen) and the immobilization and/or the discharge of the affected area. Surgical treatment is indicated in severe cases where there is a distortion or the affected joint is disrupted and varies depending on the location of the disease.

Complications of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

Since osteochondritis is a self-limiting disease, its complications are rare. In rare cases, spinal osteochondrosis is associated with kyphosis. In addition, osteochondritis of the femoral head may lead to joint destruction that requires surgical treatment.

Prevention of osteochondrosis/osteochondritis

As with many diseases, osteochondrosis is best treated when diagnosed early.

What specialty

The doctor to treat osteochondrosis is the Orthopaedist – Orthopaedic Surgeon

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