An Overview on a Knee Cartilage Injury
Cartilage is the connective tissue that covers the ends of the bones at a joint throughout the body to provide a smooth bearing surface. Healthy cartilage allows the bones to move and glide over each other with minimal friction and with no pain. Articular cartilage is very important for the preservation and normal function of the joints. In the knee, cartilage is responsible for providing a smooth protective layer covering the femur, tibia and the patella undersurface, as well as serving as a shock absorber for the knee. When a knee cartilage injury occurs, such as torn cartilage in the knee, it is important to schedule an orthopedic consultation to examine the extent of injury. Dr. Nikhil Verma, knee specialist serving the communities of Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois, specializes in treating knee cartilage injuries and disorders.
Cartilage does not have its own blood supply so it does not have the natural ability to heal itself after damage from a sports injury, work injury or a traumatic event. If left untreated, a knee cartilage injury can cause deterioration in the joint leading to osteoarthritis and other degenerative disorders.
A knee cartilage injury can occur through trauma, overuse, sports injuries and age related degeneration. An injury can range from softening of the cartilage to torn cartilage in the knee showing the underlying bone. “Loose bodies” can also occur within the knee joint. This term refers to the cartilage that has been separated from the bone and now floats within the joint, often causing mechanical symptoms such as locking and catching.
Symptoms of a Knee Cartilage Injury
The most common complaint from patients suffering from a knee cartilage injury is a constant, dull ache and swelling with activity. With more severe injuries, catching or locking of the joint with motion may occur due to a piece of broken cartilage that is lodged in the joint.
Diagnosis of a Knee Cartilage Injury
The symptoms of knee cartilage injuries may overlap with other injuries to the joint. In order to reach a diagnosis, Dr. Verma will conduct a thorough physical examination, compare the injured knee to the other knee and conduct numerous tests to rule out other possible knee injuries. X-rays and an MRI may also be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.