Cartilage is a tough, flexible tissue found throughout the body. It acts as a cushion between the bones and covers the surface of the joints. People having damaged cartilage often suffer from inflammation, stiffness and pain in joints.
What causes damage to the cartilage?
- Direct blow: When the bones suffer from a direct blow during an accident or fall, the cartilage can get damaged. Athletes have a high risk of having damaged cartilage, particular those involved in wrestling, rugby, and football.
- Wear and tear: Cartilage can get damaged due to excess stress on the bones over a period of time. Obese people are at high risk of having damaged knee cartilage as there is excess pressure on their knees.
- Lack of movement: Lack of movement or immobility can increase the risk of damaged cartilage.
What are the symptoms of damaged cartilage?
- You may suffer from joint pain which increases during walking or when you put on weight.
- Swelling of the joint is a common symptom of damaged cartilage.
- You may feel the stiffness of joints.
- Your joint may get locked.
- A click or grinding sensation on your joint.
How can you diagnose that you have damaged cartilage?
With the help of many non-invasive tests, your doctor can diagnose whether you have damaged cartilage or not. Some of the common tests carried out to diagnose damaged cartilage include Arthroscopy and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
What are the treatments available for damaged cartilage?
Treatment for damaged cartilage depends on the severity of the case and if you have injured your joint and still can walk and put on weight, you can be treated with PRICE therapy. PRICE stands for:
- Protection: You have to keep your injured joint protected from further injuries with the help of a knee brace or support.
- Rest: Give ample rest to the affected area for the initial three-four days. After that, you can move into your daily activities again.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the affected area every three-four areas. This will help in soothing the inflammation and reduce the soothing.
- Compression: Compress, or bandage the affected area with an elastic bandage to avoid swelling and movement of the area.
- Elevation: Keep the affected area raised with the help of a pillow to reduce swelling.
Physiotherapy can be helpful in strengthening the muscles around the affected joint. Your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist who can treat you at your home. Severe cartilage damages need to be treated with surgery.
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