Articular Cartilage Damage
Cartilage is a form of connective tissue that is more flexible than bone. Articular cartilage refers to the layer of cartilage covering the articulating ends of bones in a movable (synovial) joint.
How is Articular Cartilage damaged?
In a joint, the bone ends articulating with each other are protected by the articular cartilage cap. These cartilages bathe in a lubricating fluid that protects their surface from friction during joint movement and ensures smooth movement. Further, there are ligaments (bone-to-bone cordlike fibrous extensions) that hold the joining ends of the bone in the correct anatomical position during movement or in weight-bearing position so that no undue stresses accumulate at a specific point. This whole joint structure is enclosed in a capsule, which not only holds it in place, but is also the source of the lubricating fluid.
If this functional harmony is disrupted the whole joint suffers. Articular cartilage damage mostly occurs concomitantly with other joint problems, e.g.
- A torn or loose ligament
- Previous trauma/surgery altering joint mechanics
- Direct trauma to the cartilage during an accident or a sports injury
- Degenerative/ inflammatory joint disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, etc,