Articular cartilage is the soft white cartilage that covers the ends of the bones and helps the knee move smoothly. It also helps absorb shock inside the knee. Disorders are common in runners, skiers, cyclists and soccer players. Once damaged, articular cartilage will not heal on its own.
Articular cartilage disorders occur most often in young adults and can be caused by sports injury, overuse or muscle weakness. Other causes include bone misalignment, obesity, and osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis.
The most common symptom is a dull pain around or under the knee cap that worsens when walking up or down stairs or hills. Individuals may also feel pain when the knee bears weight as it straightens.
To properly diagnose articular cartilage disorders, one of the knee specialists at Lancaster Orthopedic Group will examine the knee and order one or more imaging studies or tests to determine the severity of the injury.
Conservative treatment options, such as anti-inflammatory medication, may help relieve some of the symptoms of articular cartilage disorders. If the condition is severe or does not respond to conservative treatment methods, surgery may be necessary. In some cases, total knee replacement can be an excellent option.