Professor Ochi graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Hiroshima University in 1977, and entered the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery led by Professor (at the time) Kenya Tsuge. Upon entering the department, he diagnosed and treated many patients who had damaged cartilage due to traffic accidents or sports and patients with torn ligaments due to sports injuries with the aim of becoming "a comprehensive knee surgeon dealing with all parts of the knee be it ligaments, cartilage, or the meniscus". Players from the Hiroshima Carp baseball team and the San Flecce soccer team rely on the professor and have come to see him. In his time as a lecturer and assistant professor, he carried out over 130 ligament surgeries a year, however, in 1995, he transferred to the Shimane University Faculty of Medicine as a professor.
The population of Shimane prefecture was sparse, and sports players with injured ligaments were few. Taking advantage of his transfer, the professor's primary research focus shifted from ligaments to cartilage research and treatment. The hyaline cartilage of the knees and elbows serve as a cushion so that the hard bones of the legs or arms don't grind against one another. The cartilage has a moderate degree of elasticity and its surface is smooth and slick, which enables it to fulfill the important role of suppoting smooth joint movements. However, the cartilage also lacks in regenerative capability, and once it has been damaged, it very rarely heals itself naturally. Thus, there was no real effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee (condition in which cartilage of the knee wears down and causes inflammation, which in turn causes damage to joints and pain) or for traumatic cartilage defects often seen in sports players. In Shimane prefecture, where many elderly reside, there were many patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee and Rheumatoid arthritis, making cartilage the perfect subject for research.