There are different forms of cartilage in the body. Healthy articular (hyaline) cartilage in the knee is a firm, dense, smooth connective tissue that covers the end of bones, providing cushioning to the bones underneath it. Hyaline articular cartilage forms a smooth surface that enables bones to easily glide over each other.
The cartilage that makes up the menisci has more of a fibro-cartilaginous structure.
Cartilage repair is considered a key component to long-term joint health. As such, treating cartilage injury is an important part of what we do at CJP.
Cartilage (Chondral) Defect
Cartilage (chondral) defects often refer to divots in the articular cartilage. Sometimes the divots can be large and deep, down to bone. Cartilage can get damaged by acute or repetitive trauma to the joint. And because hyaline cartilage lacks blood supply, it cannot heal itself very well. Articular cartilage also does not have any nerve-endings. So most of the pain associated with a chondral defect is due to loss of cushioning over the exposed bone. Left untreated, chondral defects will continue to grow and degrade further over time. This degradation can lead to knee osteoarthritis. Early intervention in this process is critical to improving function and long-term joint preservation.
The menisci are made up of two C-shaped pads of cartilage that cushion your knee. These rubbery discs aid in knee stability by distributing weight evenly and act as “shock absorbers” between the tibia and femur. Meniscal injuries are very common and can be caused by normal wear and tear and acute injuries. Most meniscal injuries can be repaired with use of arthroscopic surgery. Other times, the meniscal pathology is so severe that it will require a procedure called Meniscal Allograft Transplantation.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative response of joint tissues to aging and various other genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms are usually pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness of joint, worsening after physical activity. OA cartilage damage is more generalized and diffuse throughout the joint, differing from focal chondral injuries. Depending on the severity of OA, treatment can range from conservative therapies to total knee replacement surgery.