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Learning More About Cartilage Damage

When it comes to robotic joint replacements, Fox Valley residents from Green Bay to Oshkosh might require this procedure for a number of reasons. Learning more about cartilage damage is a good place to start. There are times when cartilage damage is so significant that replacing the joint is necessary to help restore function and range of motion.

What Are the Primary Functions of Cartilage?

Cartilage plays a major role in many areas of your body. When looking specifically at your joints and surrounding structures, cartilage works to:

  • Cushion your joints and decrease friction
  • Hold your bones together

Exploring the Different Types of Cartilage

There are three types of cartilage in your body. The elastic type is what makes up structures like your nose and ears. The hyaline type is between your joints and it is tough, elastic and springy. The fibrocartilage type it located between your spinal vertebrae and the pelvis and hip bones. It the toughest type and it is meant to stand up to heavy weight.

What Causes Cartilage Damage?

There are three primary ways that cartilage damage occurs. Wear and tear is a common cause and you often see it as a result of normal aging. A direct blow to a joint could result in damage to the associated cartilage. If the joints are not moved on a regular basis, this can cause the cartilage to become damaged.

Symptoms of Cartilage Damage

When the cartilage located in one of your joints becomes damaged, this can result in a number of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Stiffness in the affected joint
  • Inflammation that can cause the affected joint to become tender, warm, swollen and painful
  • A limitation in the range of motion in the affected joint

Treating Cartilage Damage

It can take much longer for cartilage to heal when it is damaged due to the fact that it does not have a blood supply. For some people, medications and exercise can help to reduce symptoms and improve the damage. In other cases, surgery is necessary to repair the damage and ensure better joint function. The surgical options include:

  • Marrow stimulation to help encourage the growth of new cartilage
  • Debridement to remove loose edges
  • Autologous chondrocyte implantation to create new cartilage and replace what is damaged
  • Mosaicplasty to take healthy cartilage and use it to replace damaged cartilage

You can see that cartilage damage can vary in terms of severity and impact. Now that you know more about it, you can better address it should you ever experience it. In the most advanced cases, your doctor might discuss joint replacement surgery to help you to restore the use of the affected joint.

If you would like to request a consultation with one of the orthopedic specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute (OSI), please call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.

Additionally, OSI now offers a Walk-In Clinic at its Appleton location for new, acute orthopedic injuries.

The Orthopedic & Sports Institute has convenient locations to serve you. In addition to the flagship facility in Appleton, you will find outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.