Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans (JOCD) is a condition that affects young people and is characterized by growth plates that are not fused together. Normally hard bones are enveloped by soft bone or cartilage. However, in children suffering from JOCD, a piece of bone and the cartilage covering it may come loose. The pieces may even float around within the joints.
The condition can affect different joints such as elbows, knees and ankles. JOCD is commonly seen in children and young adolescents who are physically active or participate in sports. Although it usually does not cause too much damage during adult life, the condition may lead to an early onset of arthritis.
What are the causes of JOCD?
Determining the exact cause of JOCD is difficult. The condition has been known in the medical community for more than a century, but the etiology is still unknown. What we do know is that it is most commonly found in children who are active and that it is more prevalent in males than in females. The general consensus is that multiple injuries along with sports trauma could be the possible cause.
What are the symptoms of JOCD?
Some of the common symptoms associated with JOCD include:
- Pain during physical activity
- Locking of the joints
- Swelling near the joints
- Inability to bend knees or straighten them
If an MRI shows pieces of bone being separated from the joint and floating around inside, it is an indication of JOCD.
The treatment methodology for JOCD is not straightforward because there are many factors involved. The age of the child at the time of onset, the size of the bone fragment and its location will all affect the treatment procedure. Depending on the severity of the condition, the treatment may either be conservative or invasive. A conservative approach is usually the first choice and attempts are made to control the symptoms. If the patient experiences no relief, an invasive operative approach may be called for.
The first step in the conservative treatment is rest and weaning off physical activities because it may further aggravate the condition. Health care practitioners often suggest a bracing or a cast in order to stabilize the joint. The length of rest time is dependent on the severity of JOCD. However, it is important to note that prolonged periods of casting may lead to atrophy, stiffness and poor healing. When large parts of the joints are affected by JOCD and if there are more than 2 pieces of cartilage and bone floating in the joint area, a conservative approach may be followed by an operative treatment.
Since JOCD requires long periods of rest, children may find it difficult to return to sports after the treatment is over. It is important to prepare children and gently help them come to terms with the possibility that they may not be able to return to sports immediately. Staying away from physical activity can be difficult for kids to cope with. Some children may be overwhelmed by the stress, so efforts must be taken to provide help, support and counseling if required.
Author Bio: Michelle Tyler is a well known writer who provides meaningful information regarding the latest technologies and apps which in turn helps surgeons to improvise on their specific tasks. These articles help patients understand the latest treatment options that are available to them. Read more.