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Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) is a relatively uncommon condition in which a part of articular cartilage, together with a layer of bone, becomes damaged and eventually detached from the end of a bone. Although OCD can occur in other joints of the body, this condition mostly affects the knee.
Osteochondritis dissecans is caused by a reduction in the blood supply to the end of the bone, leading to the collapse of an area of bone. The cartilage overlying the area then becomes damaged and can eventually detach, along with a layer of bone to which it is attached. This is known as an osteochondritis lesion.
Although it not certain what conditions might lead to such a reduction in the blood supply, one theory is that repeated small and unnoticed injuries cause accumulated damage and when such damage is extensive enough, symptoms become apparent. Currently males are two to three times more likely than females to develop OCD.
Primary role of a knee orthosis in this condition is to shift weight off of the involved portion of the knee joint to reduce the pain and joint irritation that comes with increase pressure. The medial (inside) compartment of the knee is most commonly involved and in that case the weight line through the knee would be shifted to the lateral (outside) aspect to decrease a percentage of the weight bearing pressure medially. An unloading knee orthosis is the go to brace in these situations.