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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

About

Cartilage is the resilient, flexible tissue found throughout your body. It covers the surface of joints, acting 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

  • Symptoms of a cartilage injury icon plus

    Symptoms of a cartilage injury may include:

    • 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
  • Diagnosis 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 problems with 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
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

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

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

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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