Articular Cartilage Injury – Frisco, TX
Articular cartilage, also known as the hyaline cartilage, refers to the thick, white and smooth layer of tissue that lines the bone ends within the knee joint. It is made up of proteins and has no direct supply of blood to it. This makes it difficult for the cartilage to heal once it is injured. This cartilage layer protects the bones from rubbing against each other and keeps the joint function smooth. It also fulfills the role of a shock absorber that keeps the joint safe from external injuries. Once this layer gets damaged, knee movement becomes limited and it increases the risk of osteoarthritis. It also increases the risk of bone fractures. It may also affect the shoulder joint.

Causes Of Articular Cartilage Injury

  • Direct high energy trauma to the joint
  • Dislocation of the kneecap
  • Sports injuries resulting from direct physical combat, tackle and twisting or turning of the joint
  • If the joint has been immobilized for a long time
  • A fall from a height
  • Overuse and natural wear and tear as the person ages
  • Injuries to the ligaments
  • Damage to the menisci
  • Overweight
  • Faulty bone alignment
  • Muscle weakness

Symptoms Of Articular Cartilage Injury

  • Pain which can occur gradually or immediately after the injury
  • Catching and locking feel in the knee
  • A pop in the knee is  heard or felt when moved
  • Swelling and inflammation within the joint
  • Tenderness and redness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Muscle wasting may occur
  • Osteophytes may develop as a result of cartilage damage
  • Diagnosis Of Articular Cartilage Injury
  • Detailed evaluation of the injury and the joint by the orthopedic to check for visible signs of injury and symptoms
  • Palpation to assess the inflammation and dislocations if any
  • X-ray imaging of the joint can reveal bone damage or dislocations but they cannot diagnose soft tissue injuries or change
  • MRI scan are generally recommended in most cases
  • CT scan may be required

Treatment For Articular Cartilage Injury

  • Rest the affected/injured leg by keeping it elevated at the chest level
  • Ice packs may be applied at regular intervals to control swelling during the acute stage
  • Soft bandage may be used for gentle compression. It lends additional support to the joint
  • Pain killers and anti inflammatory medicines may be prescribed
  • Drilling holes into the cartilage to promote blood supply
  • Autologous Chondrocyte implantation (ACI) - a part of the damaged cartilage is taken out through arthroscopic surgery and then sent to the lab for cell culture. New cells are developed and then injected back into the joint for healing
  • Surgical replacement of the damaged cartilage
  • Total joint replacement may be required in elderly people whose joint and cartilage has been severely damaged
  • Maintaining a normal weight
  • Use of crutches and activity modification is required post surgery
  • Physical therapy is recommended