Cartilage Damage and Repair

We offer personal attention and the latest treatments for cartilage damage, including innovative cartilage repair approaches.

Cartilage Damage and Repair

We offer personal attention and the latest treatments for cartilage damage, including innovative cartilage repair approaches.

Telehealth appointments are available.

Expert Treatment of Cartilage Damage

Cartilage is strong, flexible connective tissue that protects your bones and joints. It reduces wear and tear on your joints and lets them move smoothly. Sports injuries often cause cartilage damage, such as a torn meniscus in your knee or a separated shoulder. Cartilage injuries can also happen with age, when decades of use cause joint cartilage to break down. We offer expert treatment of cartilage damage. Cartilage repair requires advanced skill and expertise, and our team is known for their experience. We draw from the latest cartilage repair approaches to help you move without pain.

Types of Cartilage Damage

Your joints have two types of cartilage:

  • Articular cartilage is a smooth covering at the ends of bones and provides cushioning.
  • Meniscus cartilage is rubbery tissue that sits between your shinbone and thigh bone, stabilizing your knee and acting as a shock absorber.

Most cartilage injuries involve knees, but you can also damage the cartilage in your shoulder, hip and ankle joints.

Articular Cartilage Damage

Articular cartilage damage can happen from overuse or injuries, such as:

  • Age-related wear and tear
  • Impacts to the joint — either from a fall or sports injury or repeated, smaller impacts over time
  • Poor joint alignment, either from an injury or a condition present at birth
  • Rotating the joint while it is bearing weight, such as twisting your knee when you plant your foot

Meniscus Cartilage Damage

Meniscus tears are one of the most common knee injuries. A tear can happen when your foot is planted, and you twist your knee or your knee is hit hard. It is a common injury for younger athletes who play sports, like soccer, football or basketball, that have sudden stops and direction changes.

Middle-aged and older people can have meniscus injuries from age-related wear and tear — such as from osteoarthritis — which makes the meniscus more prone to tearing.

Signs of Cartilage Damage in the Knee

The most common symptom of knee cartilage damage is pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Catching or locking sensation during knee bending
  • Feeling that your knee is unstable
  • Grating or popping sound and sensation, when you bend or move your knee
  • Inability to bend or straighten your knee completely
  • Increased pain when going up or down stairs
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Swelling

Treatments We Offer for Cartilage Damage

There are a variety of treatments for cartilage damage, including nonsurgical approaches like rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines and braces.

When nonsurgical treatments do not relieve symptoms or the cartilage damage requires more advanced treatment, we may recommend surgery. In many instances, surgeons use arthroscopy. This minimally invasive approach uses smaller incisions, offering less pain and faster healing.

Surgical treatments include:

  • Approaches to stimulate the growth of new articular cartilage, including microfracture, drilling and abrasion arthroplasty
  • Cartilage grafting, which repairs damaged cartilage by using cartilage cells from another part of your body or a donor
  • Joint replacement
  • Torn meniscus surgeries, including meniscectomy (removes or trims the meniscus), meniscus repair (stitches the meniscus together) or meniscal transplantation (replaces the damaged meniscus with one from a donor)

Why Choose Us for Cartilage Repair and Treatment

You benefit from our leading-edge diagnostic services and innovative, personalized treatments that let you move without joint pain.

Our sports medicine team specializes in personalized care for a wide range of sports-related injuries.

We bring together specialists in orthopedic surgery, physical therapy and pain management to give you complete care.

You receive care from the same team that treats world-class athletes from USC and the LA Kings hockey team.

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