When is Articular Cartilage Surgery of the Knee Needed?
When areas of articular cartilage are lost in a knee joint and there is exposed bone with no overlying coating cartilage, patients typically experience pain, swelling, and catching in the knee. These symptoms are worse after activities, particularly after impact activities such as running or skiing. As time progresses, areas of surrounding articular cartilage are overloaded and these areas start to wear away, leading to worsening symptoms. As a result, patients often find that they can no longer comfortably do the activities that they enjoy in life.
Initially, nonsurgical treatments such as icing, eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich with a lot of whole plant foods, modifying activities, wearing a knee brace, physical therapy, natural and prescription anti-inflammatory medications, and injections (steroid, hyaluronate, platelet rich plasma, or stem cell) may be tried. If these treatments fail to provide sufficient relief, then surgery may be considered, especially in young patients who have lost areas of articular cartilage due to a sudden traumatic injury and not from slow wear and tear as a result of aging.