artilage has several functions, including holding bones together and supporting other tissues
There are three types of cartilage
Diagnosis of cartilage damage will normally require and MRI or arthroscopy
Cartilage damage is often treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Patients with damage to the cartilage in a joint (articular cartilage damage) will experience:
Inflammation - the area swells, becomes warmer than other parts of the body, and is tender, sore, and painful.
Range limitation - as the damage progresses, the affected limb will not move so freely and easily.
Articular cartilage damage most commonly occurs in the knee, but the elbow, wrist, ankle, shoulder, and hip joint can also be affected.
In severe cases, a piece of cartilage can break off, and the joint can become locked. This can lead to hemarthrosis (bleeding in the joint); the area may become blotchy and have a bruised appearance.
Causes of cartilage damage
Direct blow - if a joint receives a heavy impact, perhaps during a bad fall or an automobile accident, the cartilage may be damaged. Sportspeople have a higher risk of suffering from articular damage, especially those involved in high impact sports like American football, rugby, and wrestling.
Wear and tear - a joint that experiences a long period of stress can become damaged. Obese individuals are more likely to damage their knee over a 20-year period than a person of normal weight, simply because the body is under a much higher degree of physical stress. Inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints is known as osteoarthritis.
Lack of movement - the joints need to move regularly to remain healthy. Long periods of inactivity or immobility increase the risk of damage to the cartilage.