All over the body, different kinds of cartilage give shape to our anatomy, support our joints, and cushion the impact of our movements. All cartilage is strong and elastic, but each type varies in degrees when it comes to these important characteristics.
There are three different kinds of cartilage and cartilage injuries in Montgomery County can be sustained to any one of these three:
fibrocartilage: makes up the spine’s vertebral discs and the lateral and medial menisci in the knees
hyaline cartilage: this smooth, lubricating material covers joint surfaces
elastic cartilage: gives shape to body parts, such as the ears and nose
Hyaline cartilage that is located on the articular surface of bones is often called articular cartilage. This living tissue is the primary reason that a healthy body can perform a wide range of movements with little to no pain. Because cartilage does not contain nerves, it serves as the perfect “cushion” between bones to absorb the shock of impact in the joints.
Understanding Cartilage Injuries in Montgomery County
Healthy cartilage can sustain injury in one of two ways. First, there is the potential for mechanical destruction of cartilage when a direct blow to a joint or some other trauma occurs. For example, a car accident or an abrupt twist of the knee during a soccer game could both be sources of mechanical cartilage injuries.
However, cartilage can also degenerate over time and years and use take their toll. Elasticity as well as the structure and function of cartilage can become compromised over the years. When the cartilage softens and fragments, the underlying bone is exposed and the joint loses its protective covering.
For this reason, many cartilage injuries in Montgomery County are reported long after the cartilage has significantly degenerated. Because the damage occurs slowly over time, some patients do not seek medical help until the pain is severe and the joint is at risk of deformity. In order to best treat the onset of osteoarthritis due to cartilage breakdown, patients should make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist as soon as they begin to notice symptoms, such as pain, swelling and stiffness of joints.
Other symptoms may include the locking or “catching” of joints, especially if a loose body is present in the affected joint. Articular cartilage injuries result in reduced range of motion and increased pain with movement.
What to Do About Cartilage Injuries in Montgomery County
If you’re a local patient experiencing the symptoms of cartilage injury, call Rothman Orthopaedic Institute today. An orthopedic specialist will be able to diagnose your condition using a physical exam and most likely, an MRI.
There are several possible treatment approaches, depending on the patients age and health, the extent of the injury to the cartilage and which joints it is impacting. The physician may recommend cartilage restoration, which involves the resurfacing and stabilizing of the affected joint. Or, in cases of more severe damaged, joint replacement surgery may be recommended.