Cartilage damage is a common type of injury that often involves the knee joints, although it can also occur in other major joints around the body including the hips, ankles and also elbows. Here we look at the causes of damage and symptoms that lead to choosing knee cartilage repair surgery.
The Role of Knee Cartilage
Cartilage is a tough but flexible structure that forms the main type of connective tissue throughout the body. It forms a firm tissue that covers the surface of joints which gives them protection from impact, as well as allows the bones to slide comfortably over one another during active movement.
Usually, cartilage damage happens as a result of an impact injury, often sustained in sports, or through continual wear and tear over time.
Osteoarthritis Risk Factors
Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition that is directly linked to cartilage damage. This happens when the protective cartilage surrounding the joint breaks down, leading to swelling and mobility issues. The exact cause for this is unknown but risk factors include previous joint injury, conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, family history, age and obesity.
Symptoms of Knee Cartilage Damage
Unfortunately diagnosing cartilage damage can be a challenge as it cannot be found through a physical examination alone. The symptoms of cartilage damage can include;
- Joint pain
- Swelling or stiffness of the joint
- Clicking of the joint
- Locking or catching joint
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans are commonly used to detect damage within the cartilage as the scan is able to produce detailed images to determine if there is any damage present.
Knee Arthroscopy Options
An arthroscopy is a form of keyhole surgery that is used to treat and diagnose joint issues. A small medical telescope is inserted into the knee joint in order for the internal structure to be accessed. The small incisions required means that the surgery is less painful and has faster healing times. Additionally, an arthroscopy promotes a lower risk of any infections occurring.
The following types of knee surgery are on offer with Shah Punwar:
Meniscal tears often occur due to twisting injuries which can lead to swelling, pain, clicking and issues with stability. Often, these types of injuries are unlikely to heal on their own requiring the meniscus to be either trimmed or removed entirely.
If the cartilage lining the joint is damaged then it can be probed and any loose flaps can be carefully smoothed. If the damage is full-thickness then a cartilage restoration procedure known as a microfracture may be considered. This is where small holes are made in the surface of the joint which aims to stimulate a healing response.
If you would like to find out more about knee cartilage repair options that would be suitable for you, get in touch to arrange an appointment with Mr Punwar.