OCD interestingly enough does not only stand for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but also for Osteochondritis dissecans. This is a condition that occurs when blood supply to the bone and cartilage in the ankle joint is cut off. Usually the condition develops as a result of some kind of trauma to the ankle. If left untreated, a fragment of bone can become detached inside the joint and cause chronic pain.
Though rare, the condition is found mostly in young athletes, particularly male, and especially those involved in sports that require repetitive movement like jumping and pivoting.
Causes of Osteochondritis
There is no single known cause of this ailment. Common factors include stress to the bone, reduced blood supply to the affected area, and trauma to the bone. Osteochondritis can also occur as a result of sports injuries.
An injury to the talus bone, generally caused by a sprained ankle, is the main of multiple factors that can contribute to the development of osteochondritis. Another factor is loss of blood supply. Vascular insufficiency may also lead to it, and could eventually cause the death of bone tissue.
At Risk Persons
Osteochondritis is almost exclusively found in children and teenagers, up to around age 20. It is more common in boys, particularly those who engage in sports.
Though some cases of osteochondritis can heal without the affected person even knowing, the most common symptom is pain near the joint that’s affected. Pain can be triggered by either physical activity or pressure applied to the area.
The progression of osteochondritis can be slow or rapid. The damaged bone and its cartilage may stay in place for some time, causing only minor discomfort. When a fragment of bone detaches, pain will worsen. It is important to see a physician if you feel your pain is progressing.
Additional symptoms include:
• Limited range of motion
• Ankle instability (or a feeling of your ankle joint giving way)
• Ankle stiffness (especially after your ankle has been at rest)
• Swelling of the ankle joint.
How is it diagnosed?
Doctors can easily make a diagnosis through X-ray scans.
What is the Outlook?
The prognosis can vary for the different types of this ailment. Often, healing will take place on its own, or with some minor assistance from braces or a cast. This can be within weeks of the occurrence.
There are a number of simple treatments for osteochondritis. It will depend on the extent of injury to the affected joint. If the damage is limited to bruising of the bone, resting the joint might be all that is required. In most cases, the initial damage to the talus bone is not recognised early. Unfortunately though, by the time the diagnosis is made, a lesion may have formed, or a fragment has detached from the bone.
Most physicians will initially recommend conservative treatment to reduce pain, which may include:
• A brace or cast to immobilise the joint.
• Anti-inflammatory medications.
• Limited physical activity (particularly sports).
• Physical therapy.
• Resting your ankle.
If pain persists for more than three months; if motion of the ankle joint is restricted; and if conservative treatment has failed to reduce swelling, surgery is then an option. The exact treatment will be tailored to your specific type of injury, but surgical options include the removal of loose bone fragments, reattachment of loose cartilage, and bone drilling (to promote blood flow). The goal of any surgical procedure on the joint will be to restore blood flow to the joint and improve mobility.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!