Knee Cartilage Injury Diagnosis and Treatment in Lafayette, LA
Do you have knee pain that is affecting your ability to walk or perform other daily activities? If so, you may have a knee cartilage injury. This type of damage, which is very common, can occur suddenly through direct trauma or develop gradually through ongoing wear and tear.
What Is Cartilage and How Does It Become Damaged?
Cartilage is a tough but flexible connective tissue that covers the ends of the bones in a joint. Serving as a soft cushion, cartilage allows the bones to glide smoothly against each other during movement. Although knee cartilage is firm and strong, it can become damaged in several ways. In addition to inflammation caused by wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis), cartilage damage can result from a direct blow or a forceful twist of the knee.
What Are the Symptoms of a Knee Cartilage Injury?
Most knee cartilage injuries cause joint pain and swelling, which can range from mild to severe depending on the extent of the damage. Some people also experience a locking sensation in the knee, which may interfere with standing and walking. Sometimes, a piece of damaged cartilage breaks away and floats freely in the joint fluid (synovium). The loose cartilage fragment can become trapped between the articular surfaces of the knee bones or wedged into the synovial membrane. Both scenarios can be quite painful.
To diagnose a knee cartilage injury, a physician will generally review the symptoms, perform a physical examination, and possibly order an X-ray or MRI. Although cartilage does not show up on X-rays, these images can help a physician determine whether a cartilage injury involves bone damage.
What Are the Treatment Options for a Knee Cartilage Injury?
After diagnosing a knee cartilage injury, a physician may suggest:
- Conservative treatment – To address a relatively mild knee cartilage injury, a combination of nonsurgical treatments, such as rest, physical therapy, medications, and injections can help reduce pain and increase mobility.
- Knee arthroscopy – In the appropriate situation, a surgeon can perform a surgical procedure with a camera to address the damaged cartilage and surrounding scar tissue to promote pain-free knee movement.
- Knee replacement surgery – To address severe cartilage loss and pain that does not respond to conservative treatments, a physician may suggest a knee replacement procedure, which involves removing the damaged joint and replacing it with a prosthesis to help restore knee movement and function.
Consult With a Knee Specialist
If you think you might have a knee cartilage injury, you should seek prompt medical attention. In Lafayette, Louisiana, you can consult Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who encourages his patients to become active participants in their care. Dr. Vizzi will help you find the most conservative treatment option that will be effective. Schedule an appointment today.