Loose Body in a Joint
A loose body is a free-floating piece of bone, cartilage, or a foreign object in a joint. The knee is the most common site for loose bodies.
Causes of loose bodies include:
- Degenerative joint disease (Reference osteoarthritis Opens New Window).
- A chip Reference fracture Opens New Window.
- A torn piece of the Reference cartilage Opens New Window.
- An object, such as a dislodged piece of hardware from a previous surgery or a foreign object from a penetrating injury.
- Inflammation or decreased blood supply (avascular necrosis) to the bone and cartilage, which may cause the bone to separate from the cartilage (Reference osteochondritis dissecans).
Symptoms of a loose body in the knee joint may include:
- Locking of the knee that comes and goes.
- Pain and swelling of the knee that comes and goes.
- Being able to feel the loose body by touching the knee.
- Ongoing (chronic) stiffness.
Your doctor may order a test, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI, to help find a loose body. Surgery to remove the loose body or repair the kneecap may be needed if a loose body is causing symptoms.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: August 5, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference David Messenger, MD