What is the treatment?
If the loose piece is unstable (meaning it has moved into the joint space), you might need surgery to remove it or secure it. If the loose piece is stable (still in place) you may not need surgery, but you may need other kinds of treatment, such as resting the affected joint, bracing the joint when playing sports and treating pain and inflammation with ibuprofen.
Do I have to stop sports activities?
If a nonsurgical treatment is recommended, you should avoid activities that cause discomfort. You should avoid competitive sports for 6 to 8 weeks. Your doctor may suggest stretching exercises or swimming instead as a means of physical therapy.
Can osteochondritis dissecans be cured?
Young people have the best chance of returning to their usual activity levels, although they might not be able to keep playing sports with repetitive motions, such as pitching in baseball. Adults are more likely to need surgery and are less likely to be completely cured. They may later develop arthritis in the affected joint.
Osteochondritis Dissecans: A Diagnosis Not to Miss by AL Hixon, M.D. and LM Gibbs, M.D. (American Family Physician January 01, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000101/151.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff