Osteochondrosis is a family of orthopedic disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

s of the joint that occur in children and adolescents and in rapidly growing animals, particularly pigs, horses, and dogs. They are characterized by interruption of the blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

 supply of a bone, in particular to the epiphysis
The epiphysis is the rounded end of a long bone, at its joint with adjacent bone. Between the epiphysis and diaphysis lies the metaphysis, including the epiphyseal plate...

, followed by localized bony necrosis
Necrosis is the premature death of cells in living tissue. Necrosis is caused by factors external to the cell or tissue, such as infection, toxins, or trauma. This is in contrast to apoptosis, which is a naturally occurring cause of cellular death...

, and later, regrowth of the bone. This disorder is defined as a focal disturbance of endochondral ossification and is regarded as having a multifactorial etiology
Etiology is the study of causation, or origination. The word is derived from the Greek , aitiologia, "giving a reason for" ....

, so no one thing accounts for all aspects of this disease.


The ultimate cause for these conditions is unknown, but the most commonly cited etiologic factors are rapid growth, heredity, trauma (or overuse), anatomic conformation, and dietary imbalances; however, only anatomic conformation and heredity are well supported by scientific literature. The way that the disease is initiated has been debated. Although failure of chondrocyte
Chondrocytes are the only cells found in cartilage. They produce and maintain the cartilaginous matrix, which consists mainly of collagen and proteoglycans...

 differentiation, formation of a fragile cartilage, failure of blood supply to the growth cartilage, and subchondral bone necrosis all have been proposed as the starting point in the pathogenesis, recent literature strongly supports failure of blood supply to growth cartilage as most likely.
Osteochondrosis in pigs
PIGS is a four letter acronym that can stand for:* PIGS , Phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class S, a human gene* PIGS , the economies of Portugal, Italy , Greece and Spain...

 has been shown to be a condition responsive to supplementation with the essential trace element boron
Boron is the chemical element with atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B. Boron is a metalloid. Because boron is not produced by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth's crust. However, boron is concentrated on Earth by the...

 and may be a manifestation of boron deficiency
Boron deficiency (medicine)
Boron deficiency is a pathology which may occur in animals due to a lack of boron. A report given by E. Wayne Johnson et al. at the 2005 Alan D. Leman Swine Conference suggests that boron deficiency produces osteochondrosis in swine that is correctable by addition of 50 ppm of boron to the diet...



These conditions nearly all present with an insidious onset of pain referred to the location of the bony damage. Some, notably Kienbock's disease of the wrist, may involve considerable swelling, and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease of the hip causes the victim to limp. The spinal form, Scheuermann's disease, may cause bending, or kyphosis
Kyphosis , also called roundback or Kelso's hunchback, is a condition of over-curvature of the thoracic vertebrae...

 of the upper spine, giving a "hunch-back" appearance.

Human osteochondrosis

In humans, these conditions may be classified into three groups:
  1. Spinal: Scheuermann's disease
    Scheuermann's disease
    Scheuermann’s disease is a self-limiting skeletal disorder of childhood. It is also known as Sherman's Disease, Scheuermann’s kyphosis , Calvé disease and Juvenile Osteochondrosis of the Spine. It is named after Holger Werfel Scheuermann...

     (of the interspinal joints) which is a curve in the thoracic spine.
  2. Articular: Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (or, avascular necrosis
    Avascular necrosis
    Avascular necrosis is a disease where there is cellular death of bone components due to interruption of the blood supply. Without blood, the bone tissue dies and the bone collapses...

     of the femoral head in the hip), Köhler's disease (of the tarsal navicular bone of the foot), Panner's disease (of the capitulum
    The term Capitulum can refer to several things:*In botany, a type of flower head where the bracts are located under the basis, such as a daisy's*Also in botany, the top of a Sphagnum moss plant with compact clusters of young branches....

     of the elbow
    The human elbow is the region surrounding the elbow-joint—the ginglymus or hinge joint in the middle of the arm. Three bones form the elbow joint: the humerus of the upper arm, and the paired radius and ulna of the forearm....

    ), and Freiberg's infraction (of the second or third metatarsal of the foot and less frequently the first or fourth; sometimes called Freiberg's Infraction or Freiberg's disease)
  3. Non-articular: This group includes Sever's disease
    Sever's disease
    Sever's disease or calcaneal apophysitis is the most common cause of heel pain in the growing athlete and is due to overuse and repetitive microtrauma of growth plates of the calcaneus in the heel. It occurs in children ages 7 to 15, with the majority of patients presenting between 10 and 14 years...

     (of the calcaneus, or heel), and Kienbock's disease
    Kienbock's disease
    Kienbock's disease is a disorder of the wrist. It is named for Dr. Robert Kienböck, a radiologist in Vienna, Austria who described osteomalacia of the lunate in 1910....

     of the hand, and other conditions not completely characteristic of the osteochondrosis, such as Osgood-Schlatter's disease (of the tibial tubercle) and Osteochondritis dissecans
    Osteochondritis is a painful type of osteochondrosis where the cartilage or bone in a joint is inflamed.It often refers to osteochondritis dissecans...

  4. Vertebrorevitology
    -Definition and essence of the method:Definition and essence of the methodVertebrorevitology – is a method of backbone’s diseases treatment with the aim to optimize conditions for activation of reparative...

    method as preventive measure of human osteochondrosis


The term osteochondrosis has been used to describe a wide range of lesions among different species. There are different types of the prognosis: latens, which is a lesion restricted to epiphyseal cartilage, manifesta, a lesion paired with a delay in endochondral ossification, and dissecans which is acleft formation in the articular cartilage.
The prognosis for these conditions is very variable, and depends both on the anatomic site and on the time at which it is detected. In some cases of osteochondrosis, such as Sever's disease and Freiberg's infraction, the involved bone may heal in a relatively normal shape and leave the patient asymptomatic. On the contrary, Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease frequently results in a deformed femoral head that leads to arthritis and the need for joint replacement.

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