1. What is articular cartilage?
Articular cartilage is the cushion tissue on the end of the bones of the large joints in our body.
2. How does articular cartilage get injured?
Injuries to articular cartilage may result from trauma or from degeneration (arthritis).
3. How are these injuries diagnosed?
Pain is a common complaint. Sometimes mechanical symptoms (clicking, locking, popping) are also present. X-rays may be helpful in cases of severe cartilage loss (arthritis). MRIs are helpful to assess the integrity of cartilage.
4. How are these injuries treated?
Isolated defects may be treated with a variety of techniques to restore a smooth cap to the crater, such as microfracture, osteochondral autograft/allograft transplants (OATS) or autologous chondrocyte transplantation (ACI). Diffuse degeneration of cartilage, or arthritis, is usually treated with resurfacing or replacement procedures.