The cartilage is a connective tissue that acts as a shock absorbing structure and provides a smooth surface for the knee joints. They are 2 types of cartilage in the knee - meniscus and articular.
The meniscus acts as a shock absorber during weight-bearing activities and helps to maintain knee joint stability. It is a commonly injured part of the knee.
A meniscus tear can be caused by contact or non-contact activity when a weight- bearing knee moves or twists suddenly. It can also occur as a result of wear and tear.
Diagnosis is made after your doctor takes your case history and clinical examination.
A MRI may also be useful for diagnosing tear/s of the meniscus.
Non-surgical treatment includes rest, elevation and ice therapy of the affected limb.
Crutches can help take the weight off the affected limb, and physiotherapy, after the pain subsides, can help improve the range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the knee.
If the meniscus does not heal by itself, surgical repair or excision of the meniscus may be needed if you continue to experience persistent pain, locking of the knee or are unable to achieve full range of motion.
The articular cartilage is the smooth covering at the end of the bones that allows for frictionless gliding of one bone against another. It also acts as a shock absorber.
The surface can be damaged by direct trauma or through chronic wear and tear.
An x-ray and MRI may be useful in the diagnosis.
Rest, ice and compress should be the first course of treatment upon injury.
Crutches can also be used to ease pressure on the sore knee, followed by physiotherapy, when the pain subsides, to strengthen the muscles and for range of motion.
Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are useful for pain relief and reducing inflammation.
As the ability of the cartilage to heal by itself is limited, your surgeon may recommend that you undergo resurfacing procedures. Some of the surgical options include: