Cartilage plays an important role in the knee joint. It absorbs and cushions the knee from impact, protects the surface of the bones and allows for painless, seamless motion of the joint.
The menisci are the crescent shaped discs of tough, protective cartilage that sit on the inner and outer edge of the knee. There are two menisci in each knee and injury to these important pieces of the joint’s anatomy can result in:
Loss of stability
Loss of balance
Loss of mobility
Meniscus injuries are among the most common type of knee cartilage injuries in New Castle, DE. The physicians at Rothman Institute regularly see local patients who have either partially or fully torn a meniscus.
However, articular cartilage is just as important as the menisci to the proper functioning of the knee. Damage to this type of cartilage is called a chondral injury. When the bone beneath the articular cartilage is also damaged, the injury is labeled as osteochondral.
Regardless of which kind of cartilage is injured, a patient with knee cartilage injuries in New Castle will know that she or he needs care when the pain from bone-on-bone contact becomes consistent and debilitating or when the mechanical function of the knee is compromised by loose bodies. Depending on the type of injury, this symptoms of cartilage breakdown (pain, swelling and sometimes locking or catching) may be immediate or may gradually develop over time.
Relieve Pain, Restore Function and Prevent Arthritis
Normal, healthy cartilage allows joint to move without pain. When bones glide over one another without friction, cartilage is doing its job. But when cartilage is damaged, orthopaedic physicians, like the ones who practice here at Rothman Institute, can help.
In order to relieve pain, restore function and prevent the onset of knee arthritis, our physicians will use a physical examination, x-rays and an MRI to assess your injury and provide a treatment plan. This recommended plan will depend on:
Extent of the injury
Size of the area affected
Success of other, non-operative approaches
Surgical Options for Cartilage Injuries in New Castle
For patients in Delaware, several nearby Rothman Institute locations are available for office visits as well as surgical sites, should your case require an operative treatment approach. Cartilage restoration procedures are usually recommended for younger patients that have sustained a single injury. There are several different ways that cartilage injuries can be restored:
In some case of menisci injury, a healthy meniscus is pulled from a cadaver and sewn into the patient’s joint.
In cases, healthy articular cartilage can be harvested from the patient, grown in a laboratory and then re implanted.
In cases where the surface area of the injury is smaller, healthy cartilage can be taken from another unaffected, non-weight bearing area of the patient’s own joint and can be used to restore the injured area.
Sometimes, the involved area is so large that the physician needs to transplant cartilage from an allograft (cadaver), which is termed osteochondral allograft transplantation.
Call Rothman Institute to make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist. Our physicians will walk you through the treatment options for cartilage injuries in New Castle and can help determine the best possible approach to care for your particular situation.