Cartilage injury

Cartilage damage

This relatively common condition often involves the knees but joints such as the hips, ankles and elbows can also be affected

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

  • What are the symptoms of a cartilage injury? icon plus

    • 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
  • Diagnosing a cartilage injury icon plus

    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
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    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 orthopaedic consultants

We're proud to work with leading orthopaedic experts specialising in cartilage problems in the knee, hip, foot and ankle, and whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our locations

From complex orthopaedic surgery to diagnostic tests and procedures, we provide exceptional orthopaedic care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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