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Cartilage is a fine, rubbery elastic tissue that acts as cushion between the bones in the joint spaces. It is a connective tissue and enables the joints to move freely and smoothly. It acts as a shock absorber and reduces the friction between the joints. This cartilage could either be damaged as a result of injury or degeneration as part of normal ageing process. Either of this causes friction during joint movement, causing painful, stiff movements and in some cases, even swelling of the joint spaces.
There is also a covering around the joints known as synovium. When there is a cartilage damage, this synovium is irritated, leading to increased secretion of synovial fluid, which can cause swelling in joints. There is also reduction in the range of motion of the affected joint.
Most commonly affected joints include knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and ankles. Other than degeneration that happens with ageing, cartilage damage is mainly caused by injury or trauma including fall/impact, joint dislocation, infection, ligament tear, meniscus tear, and inflammation (gout, arthritis, etc.)
Read on to know some of the most common causes for cartilage damage and ways to manage it.
Age and trauma are the main reasons for cartilage damage.
Direct blow: A heavy blow directly to any joint leads to damage (accident, sports injury, etc.).
Ageing: With constant wear and tear, joints that are under constant stress are prone for damage.
Obesity: This is also a common cause leading to chronic inflammation and breakdown of the joints.
Limited mobility: For whatever reasons (including sedentary lifestyle), lack of movement can cause cartilage damage.
The presenting symptoms of a person with any affected joint would be pain, discomfort and stiffness with movement. In addition to history and physical examination, MRI and arthroscopy can be used to confirm the diagnosis.
Start with a conservative approach and gradually switch to more advanced treatments. Conservative approach includes a combination of pain killers, steroid injections, and exercise (at a clinic or at home). If these do not work, the following surgical options are available:
Debridement: The affected cartilage is smoothened and the loose edges are removed to prevent rubbing and irritation. It is done using a shaver.
Marrow Stimulation: Using the marrow cells, more cartilage production is stimulated. Using tiny drills, holes are drilled to form a blood clot, which triggers formation of new cartilage.
Mosaicplasty: In areas of localized damage, healthy cartilage from an unaffected area is placed.
Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation: Cartilage that is grown in a lab for one to three months are placed into the knee or affected joint to allow for healthy tissue growth. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
I am 20 years old I have legs pain everything I was try but not effect so what can I do for relief pain?
Hi mam/sir I have pain of upar back since 2 year. I took already rushtox and broniya also not well yet. Feeling is same condition. MRI and all report is normal so which homeopathic good for pain please suggest me I'm tried of pain. One homeopathic doctor say take ludam pal. It is good for that.
I have slipped discs at l4-l5 n l5-s1 and tend to get a bit of acute pain at times when they get aggravated which gets better with rest and exercise. I had also been diagnosed with spondilolysthisis about 8 yrs back. For last few months I have developed a pain in my left knee. Earlier pain used to be mainly radicular pain. Could knee pain be related to slipped disc or would it be something different. I also have vit d deficiency. Any suggestions for dealing with knee pain?
I am 75 years old, am having shoulder pain, it like frozen shoulder. I can move my right hand freely but there is pain, am also doing excercise- but the pain is still there. Now it is running for 5 months. Please advise.
It results from severe vasospasm in response to a temperature change, causes marked and typically sharply demarcated pallor of one or more digits. As circulation recovers, the digit becomes blue (cyanotic) and then bright red because of rebound hyperaemia — the triphasic response. Raynaud ’s is commoner in females than males. In young women the condition is often a harm less nuisance, requiring warm gloves and sometimes vasodilators. Its onset for the first time in older people warrants investigation. Raynaud ’s may also be part of a systemic autoimmune disorder (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or systemic sclerosis), and it occasionally leads to necrosis. When associated with rheumatoid disease, Raynaud ’s can be extremely severe and requires specialist referral. It can also occur in people who use vibrating tools. Roughly two out of three patients with primary Raynaud ’s phenomenon have spontaneous resolution of their symptoms (Spencer - Green, 1998).