loose bodies

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Small pieces of bone or cartilage floating within a joint capsule. Loose bodies may include pieces of articular cartilage. Their occurrence probably reflects a joint trauma or the wearing away of the articular cartilage that exposes the surface of the bone beneath, causing it to die and separate. Symptoms include painful catching or locking of the joint. Loose bodies may promote osteoarthrtitis if not removed or reattached.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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