Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee: Epidemiology, etiology, and natural history

J Child Orthop. 2023 Feb;17(1):40-46. doi: 10.1177/18632521221149063. Epub 2023 Jan 28.


Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee is a disease that typically affects skeletally immature patients. Clinically manifested with knee pain, limping, and joint disfunction, this condition has remained misunderstood and undervalued for a long period. Although being a rare condition, its awareness is of utmost clinical interest because of the possible severe consequences it can bring when misrecognized or inadequately treated. Its etiology remains unclear and is still debated. Many theories have been proposed, including inflammation, local ischemia, subchondral ossification abnormalities, genetic factors, and repetitive mechanical microtrauma, with a likely interplay of the same. This review article aims to deliver and discuss current and up-to-date concepts on epidemiology, etiology, and natural history of this pediatric condition. Level of evidence: level V.

Keywords: Osteochondritis dissecans; children; epidemiology; etiology; knee.

Publication types

  • Review