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Treatment Options for Cartilage Restoration in the Knee

Senior man having knee medical exam.

Your knee bears a great deal of stress as you go about your daily activities. It can withstand a lot of pressure, but your knee’s cartilage can be injured or deteriorate due to aging.

What is a knee cartilage injury?

The bones in your knee are lined with cartilage – specialized tissue that helps cushion the bones and allow them to glide smoothly over one another.

It can be damaged due to injury that causes lesions or holes to develop, and it can also deteriorate over time. When this happens, the cartilage has a limited ability to heal itself because it has no blood supply.

What can cause a knee cartilage injury?

A knee injury can be caused by any of the following:

  • Aging
  • Knee arthritis
  • A dislocation of the knee joint
  • A tear in the meniscus – a thin pad of cartilage within the knee joint
  • Trauma from a direct impact to the knee or from a fall
  • Infection or inflammation, such as gout

What are the symptoms of a knee cartilage injury?

This type of injury can cause the following symptoms:

  • Pain – can range from mild to severe and may get worse when you straighten your leg or put weight on your knee.
  • Swelling – can last for weeks or months
  • Difficulty with movement
  • Stiffness
  • Joint locking or catching when you try to straighten it
  • Clicking or grinding sensation

What are the latest cartilage repair treatments for the knee that can help preserve the joint?

The type of treatment used depends on your needs as well as the severity of the injury. They can include the following:

Conservative treatments

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Rest and elevation
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Cortisone injection
  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA) injections – to help supplement one of the main components of your knee cartilage
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) – platelets and growth factors from your own blood injected into the joint to help promote healing

Treatments for more serious injuries

  • Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (ACI) – healthy cartilage cells are taken from your body, grown and multiplied in a lab, and reintroduced to the area that’s injured
  • Osteoarticular Autograft Transfer Surgery (OATS) – healthy cartilage is harvested from another area of your body and then transferred to the injured area
  • Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation – uses bone and cartilage that’s fitted to the shape and size of the injury
  • Denovo Graft – cartilage cells are harvested from donors

Who makes a good candidate for these treatments?

These procedures can help treat injured knee cartilage in most circumstances if your knee is otherwise healthy.

What benefits do they provide?

Since there are many treatment options from which to choose, your doctor can select the best one for your needs. Mild damage may be able to be treated with conservative methods, but if damage and symptoms are more extensive, more invasive treatments can be used.

Cartilage restoration treatments do more than simply provide relief from symptoms – they help to heal and restore your cartilage.

What is recovery like?

Recovery often depends on how invasive your treatment is. Less invasive treatments usually require less recovery time, and arthroscopic surgeries, which utilize small incisions, require less recovery time than surgeries that involve larger incisions.

If you’re suffering from symptoms of knee cartilage damage such as knee pain or swelling, contact us today for a consultation with our specialists. We offer the latest, most effective treatments to help alleviate your pain and get you back to your normal activities.

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