Articular cartilage damage - Knee Injuries

Articular cartilage is extremely strong and smooth; it allows bones to glide over each other, which produces smooth movements and prevents friction. If the articular cartilage gets damaged, movement in the joint will be affected.

Causes of articular cartilage damage

Commonly, articular cartilage damage in the knee occurs as a result of injury to another part of the knee joint; anterior cruciate ligament damage is a common contributor to articular cartilage damage. In some cases, damage to the articular cartilage is an individual injury; this is often caused by direct contact with the knee or impact caused by falling, for example.

Symptoms of articular cartilage damage

Common symptoms include persistent pain in the knee joint, swelling and a sensation of locking in the knee; this may also be coupled with clicking noises when the knee is moved.

Treatment for articular cartilage damage

Usually, treatment will involve a prolonged period of rest combined with ice and anti-inflammatory medication; analgesics may also be prescribed to reduce pain. In some cases, where the bone has been damaged or the injury has been caused by a more serious injury such as a ligament tear, surgery may be required.

Recovering from cartilage damage

Recovery may take several weeks; during this time the knee should be sufficiently rested. Once the healing process is underway, physiotherapy will help to gradually introduce exercises which will strengthen the joint and increase the range of movement around the knee.

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