While your cartilage cushions and protects your joints, it’s also vulnerable to injury. If you have joint pain and think you have a cartilage injury, contact Reginald Alexander, MD, at LA Orthopaedic Specialists in Downtown Los Angeles, California. Dr. Alexander offers expert diagnosis and treatments for cartilage injuries to relieve your pain and restore your mobility and range of motion. Call LA Orthopaedic Specialists or schedule a consultation online today.

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What is a cartilage injury?

Cartilage is one of the soft connective tissues in your body. Cartilage coats your bones where they meet in your joints, reducing friction, absorbing shock, and adding stability. 

Cartilage doesn’t have a direct blood supply, which not only increases its risk of injury but also means it takes longer to heal damage. 

Cartilage is also easy to damage. Not only is it vulnerable to wear-and-tear and degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, but you can also sustain an injury from a substantial impact from a sports or automobile accident. 

Additionally, regular movement is critical to your cartilage health. If you have a sedentary lifestyle or have long periods of immobility, you increase your risk of cartilage damage. 

What are the symptoms of a cartilage injury?

Cartilage injury causes a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. It typically triggers inflammation, which can make your joint tender and cause pain. You might also notice that your joint feels warm to touch. The inflammation also leads to stiffness and reduces your range of motion. 

Knees are the most common location for cartilage injury, although you can also injure the cartilage in your wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, and ankles. 

How is a cartilage injury diagnosed?

LA Orthopaedic Specialists uses a variety of diagnostic tools to assess joint pain and diagnose cartilage damage. 

In addition to a physical exam and collecting information about your symptoms, lifestyle, and any potential contributing injuries, your provider uses MRIs and arthroscopy. These diagnostic tests allow them to examine the inside of your joint to evaluate your injury.

How is a cartilage injury treated?

LA Orthopaedic Specialists provides customized treatments to address your specific needs. Depending on your condition, your provider might recommend debridement — an arthroscopic procedure to smooth your cartilage and remove loose edges or debris. 

You may also benefit from cartilage restoration treatments like transplanting cartilage tissue in a procedure called autologous chondrocyte implantation or mosaicplasty. Your provider might also recommend marrow stimulation.

You should never accept joint pain as normal; call LA Orthopaedic Specialists or make an appointment online today to find out if a cartilage injury is the cause of your pain and get the treatment you need.