Capitellar Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) is a pathology affecting the elbow most commonly in adolescent student-athletes. The lesion involves both the bone and overlying articular cartilage (joint surface). Early forms are noted only as softening of the articular cartilage. In later stages, the bone and cartilage begin to crack and fissure. In the most severe cases, a fragment of bone and cartilage breaks off and becomes a loose body within the joint.
The cause of OCDs in the elbow, similar to other joints, is often unknown. Recently, the ROCK (Research in Osteochondritis of the Knee) Group as defined knee OCDs as "a focal idiopathic alteration of the subchondral one and/or its precursors with the risk for instability and disruption of adjacent articular cartilage that may result in premature osteoarthritis." The etiology in the elbow is likely similar with the microtrauma of compressive and shear forces on the joint during upper extremity dominant sports likely a significant factor in the development of the lesions in the elbow.
ROCKET is a group of medical providers across the US with a focus on improving the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) of the elbow.