Osteochondrosis is a group of medical disorders affecting the growth and development of bone and cartilage in young children and adolescents. It can affect any joints of a developing child but are most common in the hip, knee, ankle, and foot. Osteochondrosis can cause significant pain and affect the child’s ability to walk.
The currently available studies cannot explain the exact cause of osteochondrosis. However, theories suggest it may involve genetic, biomechanical, environmental, and vascular factors:
There are several types of osteochondrosis we commonly see that affect the lower extremities, including:
The typical symptoms of osteochondrosis are similar between each type and mainly differ in the affected location. Symptoms include:
A thorough physical examination and the patient’s medical history are essential in diagnosing osteochondrosis, as other musculoskeletal conditions cause pains in these joints. Often, a diagnostic imaging tool may be necessary as well, and they include:
Sometimes, if we suspect an underlying systemic condition, we may refer your child to a medical practitioner for a blood test.
The goal of osteochondrosis treatment is to promote proper bone and cartilage growth and to allow the child to continue normal daily activities. Therefore, we recommend managing the symptoms and the underlying cause of osteochondrosis for the best result. Depending on the specific condition and severity, we may recommend the following:
It can be challenging to completely prevent osteochondrosis from occurring. However, there are essential steps that parents can take to help minimise the risk of occurrence, which include:
With a proper management plan, children and adolescents with osteochondrosis generally recover well. However, the healing process can take several months to a few years, depending on the severity, the area affected, and the child’s growth rate. In severe cases, long-term complications such as joint instability, arthritis, or deformity may occur, requiring further intervention.
Osteochondrosis affects children’s and adolescents’ normal bone and cartilage growth, causing pain and disability. Therefore, parents must understand the causes, management, and prevention to detect signs and symptoms early. If you suspect your child has osteochondrosis, consult a medical professional or us today.