How To Treat An Articular Cartilage Injury?

How To Treat An Articular Cartilage Injury?

Cartilage is the fibrous, rubbery connective tissue that is found throughout the body. While this material is tough and highly flexible, it can easily become damaged. Articular cartilage can be injured with wear and tear and athletic injury, so restoring this cartilage is essential for relieving pain and allowing better function. At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our team is well-versed in treating articular cartilage injuries and will work with you to restore function to your injured joint. Continue reading to learn more! 

What Is An Articular Cartilage Injury?

Articular cartilage is the complex, fibrous, living tissue that lines the ends of bones. Its primary function is to provide a smooth surface enabling the joint to withstand weight bearing through different ranges of motion needed to perform athletic endeavors and activities of daily living. The knee is one of the areas where this type of cartilage damage can occur, but these injuries can also occur in the hip, shoulder, and ankle. While the articular cartilage is strong and capable of carrying heavy loads, it can become damaged as a result of injury or overuse. Some of the other causes of articular cartilage injuries include:

  • A forceful impact to the knee from a fall or sports injury. 
  • Repetitive impact to the joint. 
  • Twisting the knee while the foot is planted. 
  • Progressive wear and tear. 

Patients with articular cartilage injuries will often complain of knee pain with activity, swelling, and stiffness. The knee may also catch, lock, or give way. Some patients may not have any symptoms of an articular cartilage injury. Our team will carefully evaluate your symptoms and devise an effective treatment plan to get you back on your feet. 

Treating Articular Cartilage Injuries

Articular cartilage injuries are complex and often challenging to treat, so it’s essential to work with the experts at New York Sports Medicine Institute to achieve a successful outcome. Our team will perform a thorough physical examination and diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the damage and the best treatment options. Several treatments and therapies are available to treat articular cartilage injuries. Your treatment will depend on several factors, including your activity level, post-treatment goals, and the severity of the damage. 

Nonsurgical Treatment 

Nonsurgical treatments for articular cartilage damage are used to relieve symptoms and slow any further cartilage degeneration. These treatments can help enhance your strength and mobility but cannot repair the damaged cartilage. Nonsurgical treatments are used in the early stages after an injury or when cartilage loss is extensive. Some of these treatments include:

  • Rest.
  • Icing the affected joint to reduce swelling.
  • Elevating the affected joint. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Activity cessation from activities that involve heavy joint use. 
  • Bracing to unload weight on the cartilage injury. 
  • Corticosteroid injections. 

Our team may also recommend exercises to address your injury. These exercises will be personalized to you and will likely consist of stretching and exercise programs to strengthen the muscles around the joint, improve stability, and increase your range of motion. 

Surgical Treatment 

Since articular cartilage damage does not heal well on its own, surgery is often the best course of action. Some procedures aim to relieve painful symptoms, while others aim to repair and restore damaged cartilage. Most surgeries for articular cartilage damage can be performed arthroscopically. Here at the New York Sports Medicine Institute, we offer state-of-the-art surgical care. Our team of orthopedists implement the best surgical techniques so that you can not only return to the activities you love, but also do so with less pain and more quickly.

Contact Us

At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our experienced providers will assess your condition and help you make an informed decision about your treatment. We are well-versed in articular cartilage injuries and utilize a unique approach to restore function and improve your symptoms. Be sure to contact us today to request an appointment and learn more!