Elbow OCD (Osteochondritis Dissecans)

A source of pain at the outside of the elbow in active children is known as ostochondritis dessicans (OCD), a condition in which an area of cartilage with a thin layer of bone comes loose from the end of the bone. Excessive overhand throwing can put too much stress on the immature bones of the elbow and can lead to the cartilage and bone loosening and even breaking free to float inside the joint.

Pain on the outside of the elbow with or without clicking, catching, or locking up of the elbow joint in a young athlete should raise suspicion for an elbow OCD.

Depending on the severity, treatment can range from simply limiting throwing until the area heals to complex surgery including cartilage transplantation from elsewhere in the body.