Articular cartilage injuries

Articular cartilage injuries can occur following sports injuries. They can result in loose fragments (loose bodies) in the knee that could cause further damage as they get caught between the joint surfaces. The damaged site may result in exposed bone that can be painful.

The first step in managing these injuries is to make a diagnosis. The mechanism of injury, symptoms and examination findings combined with radiographs and an MRI scan can help to make the diagnosis.

The principles of treatment may included removing the loose bodies or fixing them if they are large enough to put back. Sometimes it is not possible to restore damaged cartilage. In this situation it may be necessary to treat the damaged area using other ‘repair’ or cartilage restoration techniques. These include ‘micro-fracture’, or chondral/cartilage repair procedures.