Sports Medicine Team Keeps a Young Gymnast Vaulting

Patient Story - gymnast ChloeChloe – Osteochondritis Dissecans of Elbow

Shane Uson was told his daughter Chloe’s painful elbow was “normal” for a young gymnast, but when the pain persisted, he sought out a second opinion with Spectrum Health Medical Group.

“This is nothing to take lightly,” says Dr. Matthew Axtman. “By the time I saw Chloe, she’d been dealing with pain for almost two years. We did an MRI and found loose pieces of cartilage and joint damage in her elbow.”

The diagnosis was osteochondritis dissecans (or OCD), a joint condition in which pieces of cartilage and bits of underlying bone come loose from the end of a bone which can cause the blood supply to be interrupted to the joint. Surgery involves drilling into the joint to stimulate and allow blood flow to return to the joint.

“Using a small camera in surgery, I poked small holes into the affected area to restore blood flow and cleaned up two broken fragments,” said James Lebolt, DO who specializes in orthopedic sports medicine surgery.

Chloe made a fast recovery. Fast for a young gymnast meant six months, with physical therapy and a gradual return to her gymnast’s routine. Not everyone can come back after an overuse injury, but Chloe got great care and did everything she was told. There’s no more pain now, and her arm is fully functional.

Chloe smiles. “I liked the doctors a lot because they made me feel really confident that I would be able to train again. I wasn’t nervous at all. I had my goals set to do gymnastics again and the surgery was the first step. They did a great job with my elbow!”

Read more about Chloe