Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow

Clin Sports Med. 2001 Jan;20(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/s0278-5919(05)70243-x.


Osteochondritis dissecans of the elbow remains a difficult problem to manage in the young athlete. Though the etiology is unclear, a definite association between overuse with repetitive microtraumatic insult and OCD has been established. Early detection and appropriate treatment can provide the best chance for preventing an unfavorable outcome. In many cases, conservative treatment regimens will provide complete resolution of symptoms, return of function, and full recovery, including return to sports participation. Surgical indications should be recognized, however, and surgical management carried out when warranted. Most authors treat unstable lesions primarily by excision of the fragment, accompanied by drilling or burring of the base of the lesion. Symptoms usually improve significantly, but approximately half of all patients will continue to experience chronic pain or limitation of elbow motion, highlighting the significance and severity of OCD of the elbow.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroscopy
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Child
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / complications
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Elbow Injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Elbow Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / etiology
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans / therapy*
  • Radiography