CONDITION: Cartilage Damage
The body contains three different types of cartilage: articular, which covers joint surfaces; fibrocartilage, which is found in the knee meniscus and vertebral disk; and elastic cartilage, which is found in the outer ear. They are distinguished by structure, elasticity and strength. Cartilage is a complex, living tissue that lines the bony surface of joints. It provides shock absorption, enabling the joints to withstand weight bearing through the range of motion needed to perform daily activities as well as athletic endeavors. Articular cartilage damage is the most common type of cartilage damage, and can occur as a result either of injury or degeneration caused by wear and tear. Depending on the extent of the damage, and the location of the injury, articular cartilage cells may heal. However, articular cartilage has no direct blood supply, so it has little or no capacity to repair itself. If an injury penetrates the bone beneath the cartilage, the underlying bone provides some blood to the area, improving the chance of healing.
How does cartilage damage develop?
The leading cause of cartilage damage is osteoarthritis. Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is characterized by three processes: a progressive loss of cartilage, the body's attempt to repair the cartilage and, finally, the destruction of the bone underneath the articular cartilage. Although the cause of osteoarthritis is poorly understood, lifelong moderate use of normal joints does not appear to increase the risk. Factors such as high-impact, twisting injuries; abnormal joint anatomy; joint instability; inadequate muscle strength or endurance; and medical or genetic factors can contribute to osteoarthritis.
What are the symptoms of cartilage damage?
Individuals with cartilage damage often experience stiffness, decreased range of motion, joint pain and/or swelling in the affected area. The pain may prevent involvement in normal activities. Cartilage damage has been described with words such as "locking" or "catching." Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of cartilage damage, but they do not address the root of the problem. By strengthening structural weaknesses in the body, as natural medicine treatments like Prolotherapy do, pain associated with cartilage damage may be alleviated permanently.
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Learn about the treatments for Cartilage Damage
Click here to read Prolotherapy research by Dr. Ross Hauser and his team on Prolotherapy injections for knee pain and degeneration.
Click here to read Prolotherapy research by Dr. Ross Hauser and his team on Prolotherapy injections for hip pain and degeneration.
Click here to read a patient’s story of Prolotherapy injection treatment saving him from bilateral knee replacements. This story was published in the Journal of Prolotherapy.