Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

My 17-year old son is on a high school water polo team. Several of the players have developed osteochondritis dissecans (OCD). How can we prevent this in our child?

Answer:

Overuse of the arm or leg with repeated tissue trauma is the suspected cause of this condition in athletes. The constant pinching of cartilage between two bones may lead to the breakdown of the cartilage. The cartilage may separate from the bone and even break off.

Loose fragments of cartilage in a joint cause pain, swelling, and loss of motion. Doctors advise treatment at the earliest sign of this condition. In children under age 12, adequate rest is needed for healing. Older teens may need surgery to remove any torn tissue.

There isn’t any sure formula for prevention of OCD. Over training in competitive sports puts high stress on joints. Finding the right training for each sport and each athlete is a start.

Matthijs R. Krijnen, MD, et al. Case Report. Arthroscopic Treatment of Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Capitellum: Report of 5 Female Athletes. In Arthroscopy. February 2003. Vol. 19. No. 2. Pp. 210-214.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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