Three Levels of Cartilage Injury Treatments in Hamilton

Joshua S. Hornstein, MD October 4th, 2018

How Serious Is Your Cartilage Injury? Learn About Recommended Treatments

Are you experiencing pain, stiffness, swelling, or reduced mobility in one of your joints? It’s possible the source could be damaged, worn cartilage.

At Trenton Orthopaedic Group at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, we specialize in cartilage injury treatments in Hamilton. In this overview of treatment options for cartilage injury patients, we’ll introduce you to the nature of these injuries, the gradient of injury severity, and the respective treatment options that are recommended.

Cartilage Injuries: From Mild to Severe

There are several types of cartilage, all of which may suffer damage from injuries or degenerative conditions. These include:

  • Hyaline and articular cartilage, which lines the ribs, windpipe, and joints

  • Fibrocartilage, which separates the spinal discs and vertebrae

  • Elastic cartilage, which supports the ears and nose

If you are experiencing symptoms of pain, stiffness or inflammation, it is likely that your articular cartilage has been compromised. Articular cartilage injuries make up the majority of cartilage injuries that affect orthopaedic patients.

Cartilage injuries vary greatly in terms of severity. Mildly degraded cartilage will typically only cause minor pain and inflammation in its early stages; as degradation worsens, however, the remaining cartilage will become rough, and symptoms of reduced mobility will likely emerge.

Traumatic injuries likewise range from mild to severe. In some serious injuries, pieces of cartilage may become displaced within the joint, sometimes resulting in a hemarthrosis (bleeding within the affected joint.) The severity of your injury can be determined with diagnostic testing, such as X-rays and cartilage injury MRI scans.

Cartilage does not generally heal sufficiently following a traumatic injury or the gradual onset of wear and tear without medical intervention. With that in mind, effective treatment is essential. The orthopaedic specialists of Trenton Orthopaedic Group at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute may recommend the below-listed treatments for patients who are suffering from cartilage injuries of all types and degrees of cartilage injury grading.

Treatment for Mild Cartilage Injuries

For mild traumatic injuries and cases of cartilage degeneration that are in an initial stage (cartilage is somewhat roughened and degraded, but is still largely functional and intact,) non-surgical treatment options are frequently sufficient. Recommended treatments may include:

  • Lifestyle alterations (such as high-impact activity reduction or weight loss)

  • Anti-inflammatory medications

  • Physical therapy

  • Assistive devices to relieve stress

  • Cortisone injections

While these measures will not restore damaged cartilage, they will serve to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and prevent further degeneration. They likewise spare patients from the need for intensive surgical procedures.

Treatment for Moderate Cartilage Injuries

In cases of moderate injuries and moderately advanced degeneration of cartilage, surgery is often advised.

Injuries of this degree are typically best treated with arthroscopic surgery. This surgical procedure involves the insertion of a miniature camera and surgical instruments through a small incision for minimal invasiveness. These instruments are used to remove rough, damaged cartilage that is causing painful friction within the joint. If any loose bodies of bone or cartilage fragments have become displaced due to an injury, these will be removed during the surgical process.

Treatment for Severe Cartilage Injuries

Severe cartilage injuries may involve the damaging or displacement of a significant portion of cartilage. Likewise, cartilage affected by a degenerative condition to an advanced degree will feature severely degraded or absent cartilage, paired with significantly impaired joint function.

Surgery is almost always advised in cartilage injuries of this degree. Patients have several options; one of which is the transplantation of healthy cartilage from another anatomical area to the damaged section of the joint. Grafting of cartilage tissue to surgically implant may also be a recommended solution.

Patients whose cartilage and joints have been greatly compromised may experience the best results from total or partial joint replacement surgery.

Trenton Orthopaedic Group at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute: Cartilage Injury Treatments in Hamilton

Trenton Orthopaedic Group at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute provides targeted, personalized cartilage injury treatments in Hamilton for injuries of all types and degrees. Whether you have experienced a minor knee cartilage injury or severe degeneration of the spinal cartilage, we can provide you with the effective, elite-grade care you need.

To learn more about treatment options or to schedule an appointment, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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