Cartilage injury

Cartilage damage is a relatively common condition often involves the knees, but joints such as the hips, ankles and elbows can also be affected.

Enquiries & Appointments

Knee rehab brace

What is a cartilage injury?

Cartilage is the resilient, flexible tissue covering the internal surfaces of our joint, found throughout our bodies. It acts as a cushion and allowing bones to slide over one another. It can become damaged as a result of sudden injury or gradual wear and tear. Minor injuries may get better on their own but more severe damage may require surgery.

Need to know

  • Swelling, which may worsen for a few hours or even days after the injury first happens
  • Joint pain, including when resting and when you put weight on it
  • Stiffness
  • Grinding, cracking or popping from the joint

Your consultant will examine the joint to determine the extent of your injury. They may also refer you for imaging tests including:

  • X-rays
  • MRI and/or CT scans
  • Arthroscopy; a type of keyhole surgery used to diagnose and assess problems within the joints

Minor cartilage injuries are usually treated using self care measures. It's only in the more severe cases that invasive treatments are recommended.
Treatment options include:

  • Resting the affected area
  • Raising the affected limb and using an ice pack to cool the area
  • Over the counter painkillers
  • Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • A brace or other type of support to protect the limb 
  • surgery, such as knee or hip replacement, depending on the type of injury and severity

Our Cartilage injury locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Princess Grace Hospital

The Princess Grace Hospital

42-52 Nottingham Place W1U 5NY London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.