It’s shiny, but tough; smooth, but strong; flexible, but stable. It’s articular cartilage and it’s the reason our joints are able to move with ease and function without pain. Not only does cartilage provide shape and structure to various parts of the body, but it also acts as the shock absorber and cushion that keeps bones from rubbing against one another.
Causes & Symptoms of Cartilage Injuries
Common causes of cartilage injuries in Bucks County include ligament and meniscal tears, joint dislocation, infection and inflammation (such as that caused by rheumatoid arthritis). However, here at Rothman Institute, we often see patients who suffer from cartilage injuries as the result of trauma or abrupt impact to a joint.
Many times, these injuries occur during sports. For example, a hockey player who takes a blow to the knee may have a torn ligament as well as injury to the protective cartilage covering the knee joint. The most common joints affected are the hip, knee, shoulder and elbow.
The most obvious symptoms of cartilage injuries include pain and swelling. When swelling persists, specifically for more than one day after the injury, it is probable that the cartilage is unstable and the synovium is irritated.
How Serious are Cartilage Injuries in Bucks County?
Whether cartilage is damaged due to a one-time injury or degenerative deterioration, there are two primary reasons why cartilage injuries do not heal well.
Articular cartilage is produced by cells called chondrocytes. These multiple at a slow pace, so the quick, natural healing process that happens in other parts of the body (for example, in the skin) is simply not possible in the cartilage.
There are no nerves in or direct blood flow to cartilage. While this makes cartilage the perfect material for cushioning the impact of what otherwise would be bone-on-bone contact, it also makes the healing process difficult.
It is because of the above mentioned reason - the lack of nerve endings in cartilage - that cartilage injuries in Bucks County often result in increasing pain in the joints. When the protective covering wears away, bones are exposed and since bones do contain nerves, the patient then feels every bit of the impact the joints maintain throughout the everyday activities of life.
When climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed, walking and getting dressed become difficult, it’s time to seek a solution. No matter the cause or severity of your cartilage injury, Rothman Institute physicians will be able to develop a helpful treatment approach for you! Don’t live with unmanaged pain and immobility any longer. Call us today at 1-800-321-9999 to set up an appointment.