Cartilage damage is a relatively common type of injury. It often involves the knees, although joints such as the hips, ankles and elbows can also be affected.
Cartilage is a tough, flexible tissuefound throughout the body. It covers the surface of joints, acting as a shock absorber and allowing bones to slide over one another.
It can become damaged as a result of a sudden injury, such asa Sports injuries ,or gradual wear and tear ( osteoarthritis ).
Minor cartilage injuries may get better ontheir own within a few weeks, but more severecartilage damage may eventually require surgery.
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Symptoms of cartilage damage in a joint include:
It can sometimes be difficult to tell a cartilage injury apart from other common joint injuries, such as sprains , as the symptoms are similar.
Ifyou've injured your joint, it's a good idea to try self-care measures first. Sprains and minor cartilage damage may get better on their own within a few days or weeks.
More severe cartilage damage probably won't improve on its own and if left untreated, can eventually wear down the joint.
Visit your GP or a minor injuries unit (MIU) if:
Your GP may need to refer you for tests such as an X-ray , magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or arthroscopy (atype of keyhole surgery used tolook inside joints) to find out if your cartilage is damaged.
Self-care measures are usually recommended as the first treatment for minor joint injuries. For the first few days:
Get medical advice if your symptoms are severe or don't improve after a few days. You may needprofessional treatment such as physiotherapy ,or possibly surgery.
A number of surgical techniques can be used, including: