People are normally taking part in sport when they suffer from osteoconditris dissecans. You will probably feel a sudden pain in the knee and notice a sudden swelling. If a fragment of the bone breaks off, it might jam the knee, locking the joint and making it very difficult to move.
Most people find that the condition is too painful to carry on with the sport they’re doing, and can’t even put weight on the affected leg.
Osteoconditris dissecans is rare, with no more than 30 people per 100,000 being affected, and happens most to younger men aged between 15 to 30. They are normally physically active, and taking part in sports when the condition happens.
The condition is caused by cracks forming in the knee cartilage and the bone underneath it. In severe cases part of the bone breaks away, leading to a loose fragment in the knee. The cracking is thought to be caused by a loss of blood supply to a small area of the bone.
Your doctor will chat through what’s happened and examine your knee. They may also take an X-ray to check whether a piece of bone is floating loose, and may take an MRI scan as cartilage will not show up on an X-ray. In rare cases you might also have to have a keyhole inspection of the damaged area.
If your knee isn’t locked, use Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation and rest the leg until the swelling stops.
If your knee is locked you might be able to ‘unlock’ it by bending it forwards and backwards. Even if you can unlock it yourself you should still see a doctor, as there may be a piece of bone floating in your knee that could cause more damage.
If you can’t unlock the knee, you will have to have an operation called an arthroscopy urgently to remove the fragment. The specialist knee surgeon will decide whether to leave the injured tissue in place to heal, secure it or remove it during the operation.