Bunion Body in the Ankle

Premier Orthopedic Specialists of Tulsa provides valuable insights into the condition of loose bodies within joints. Explore the symptoms, causes, accurate diagnosis, and advanced treatment options for this issue.

What are Loose Bodies?

Loose bodies are small fragments of cartilage or bone that become dislodged within the joint, floating freely within the joint space.

Symptoms of Loose Bodies:

Loose bodies can lead to a range of symptoms, including:

  • Pain within the affected joint
  • Swelling in the joint area
  • Locking or catching of the joint during movement


Causes of Loose Bodies:

Loose bodies can occur due to various factors, such as:

  • Bleeding within the joint
  • Tissue death in the joint lining, often associated with conditions like tuberculosis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fractures and trauma to the joint
  • Inflammation of bone and cartilage
  • Benign tumors of the synovial membrane

These conditions may increase the risk of loose bodies, and they are frequently found in individuals who participate in sports, as they are more susceptible to fractures and sports-related injuries.

Diagnosis of Loose Bodies:

X-rays are a common diagnostic tool for detecting loose bodies. However, small fragments with little or no bone may not be visible on X-rays. In such cases, additional diagnostic tests, including CT scans, arthrography, MRI scans, and ultrasound, may be conducted to locate and assess the loose bodies. If small loose bodies are causing pain and swelling, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed.

Treatment of Loose Bodies:

Loose bodies can be treated through arthroscopic procedures, which are performed based on the location and size of the fragments. The following methods are often used:

  • Use of a suction tip or surgical instrument (grasper) to remove the loose bodies.
  • Utilization of a mechanical burr or resector to break down and degrade the loose bodies, facilitating their absorption by the body.
  • Reduction and fixation of large loose bodies caused by fractures, bone and cartilage inflammation using screws or pins.
  • In cases where loose bodies result from benign tumors of the synovial membrane, a partial synovectomy may be performed, involving the removal of part of the synovium.
  • Arthrotomy, an open surgical technique that involves incisions into the joint, may be employed to remove loose bodies.
  • After surgery, a rehabilitation program may be recommended to manage pain and restore function and strength to the affected joint.

At Premier Orthopedic Specialists of Tulsa, we’re dedicated to providing the best care for individuals with loose bodies in their joints. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin your journey toward improved joint health.