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Cartilage Damage: Symptoms and Treatment Options

Cartilage Damage: Symptoms and Treatment Options


Cartilage damage is quite a common injury. Cartilage damage is due to sudden movement, trauma or general wear and tear over time. This kind of injury most commonly presents itself in the knee joint.

The main role of cartilage is to act as a protector and shock absorber for joints within the body. Cartilage is made up of tough and flexible tissue which allows bones to move over each other without friction. For instance, there are three types of cartilage; elastic, fibrocartilage and articular cartilage. Out of these types of cartilage, the most common type of cartilage to become most seriously damaged is the articular cartilage.

Symptoms that may suggest you have cartilage damage

Generally, if you have suffered cartilage damage you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Swelling and stiffness in the affected area
  • Joint pain
  • Decreased range of movement and mobility

In addition, if the injury is quite severe, it may be possible for a piece of cartilage to break off or overlap. In short, this causes a ‘locking’ or catching feeling in the joint. If you find it hard moving a joint or can’t put weight on the injured area you should go and be assessed by a chartered physiotherapist.


What treatment options are available?

Most importantly recovery from a cartilage injury can vary depending on the severity of the damage. A cartilage injury becomes asymptomatic and as inflammation gradually reduces, pain will also decrease.

Physiotherapy helps to decrease joint inflammation and pain in the affected area. Your physiotherapist will tailor a program specific to you and assist you in offloading the injured cartilage. Treatments such as mobility exercises and strengthening exercises can be used to help prevent further cartilage damage and are very beneficial for increasing range of movement. Depending on the area that the injury occurred in, you may also be required to wear a support such as a leg brace until your are fully recovered.

Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our expert physiotherapists are trained in treating a range of upper and lower limb injuries. If you would like to know more information regarding cartilage injuries or would like to book an appointment, contact us here.

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