Cartilage defects


Dear Patient,

Do you suffer from pain in the knee, ankle or shoulder joint for example – an articular cartilage defect is diagnosed? If the defect is unable to heal on its own, it should be treated as early as possible. If this doesn´t happen, secondary damages may occur. For example an early arthrosis could develop or finally an artificial joint would have to be inserted.
Only a few surgical procedures exist which will improve your reduced mobility and relieve you from pain.


What is articular cartilage?

Articular cartilage is a pressure resistant connective tissue which covers the articular surface of bones and is responsible for low friction movements. It works like a protective shock absorber which handles a load multiple times as heavy as the own body weight daily. The healthy articular cartilage – hyaline cartilage – consists of water and structure proteins, collagen and aggracan for example. Compared to other tissue cartilage, it is cell-poor and not supplied with blood. Normally changes to the articular cartilage caused by injuries or illness are unable to heal on their own.


What leads to cartilage defects?

Cartilage defects arise spontaneously or develop over many years. Over 5 million people sustain a cartilage defect just in the knee joint. Other joints like the shoulder or ankle can be affected as well. Affections like the Osteochondrosis dissecans can lead to an ablation of bone-cartilage fragments. Especially for young and active people incorrect weight lifting and accidents lead to damages which may become worse if left untreated.
Arthrosis - a degenerative affection – leads to an ablation from the cartilage surface to the bone plate. If this stage exists on an extensive level, only an artificial joint replacement can sustain the movement of the joint.