Knee Cartilage Injury

Knee cartilage can be injured as the result of a traumatic injury, degenerative arthritis, or chronic overuse.  Depending on the type of injury, the different types of cartilage may be damaged.  When cartilage is damaged, often it is described as a tear of the cartilage.

 Typically, when someone refers to a tear in the cartilage, they are talking about an injury to the meniscus cartilage.

Words commonly used to describe injury to the articular cartilage in the joint include:

        • Fissuring: A fissure in the articular cartilage occurs when there is a cleavage within the layer of cartilage causing a separation between the layer.  Sometimes this causes no symptoms, while others it can cause a catching sensation.
        • Thinning: Cartilage thinning can occur after an injury or as an early sign of arthritis in the knee.  Thin cartilage may not have as smooth an appearance as normal and may not glide as easily.
        • Flaps: Flaps in the articular cartilage occur when a portion of the cartilage layer is not adhered, and can be lifted from its normal position.  This can also lead to catching sensations with knee movement.
        • Defects: Cartilage defects can lead to exposed bone within the joint.  This can occur after traumatic injuries or as a result of knee arthritis.

Cartilage Tear Treatment

When a meniscus tear does occur, treatment is often necessary.  The good news is that not all meniscus tears require surgical treatment.  In fact, the vast majority of meniscus tears will improve with nonsurgical steps.  However, there are some situations where meniscus tears do respond best to surgical intervention.

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Knee Treatments & Surgery

Conditions of the Knee

  • Meniscus injury/tear
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain/strain
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sprain/strain
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain/strain
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) sprain/strain
  • Jumper’s knee
  • Housemaid’s knee
  • Infra-patellar bursitis
  • Patella dislocation
  • Patella tendon rupture
  • Quadripceps tendon rupture
  • Articular cartilage injury
  • Acute fat pad impingement
  • Biceps femoris avulsion
  • Tibiofibular joint dislocation
  • Tibial plateau fracture
  • Osteochondritis dissecans