About Articular Cartilage Injuries
Healthy articular cartilage on your joints makes it easier to move by allowing the bones to glide over each other with very little friction. Articular cartilage damage often accompanies a joint injury, such as a meniscal or ligament tear. Regular wear and tear can also damage the articular cartilage; this may lead to osteoarthritis as the cartilage tissue wears away and more of the underlying bone is exposed.
If you have articular cartilage damage, depending on the severity of your injury and your activity level, you may require articular cartilage restoration surgery to regain full function of your joint. Our orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine providers work with you to develop a specialized treatment plan with your goals in mind with a team dedicated to helping you every step of the way.
Symptoms of Articular Cartilage Injuries
Your symptoms may vary based on the extent to which your articular cartilage is damaged.
Symptoms of articular cartilage injuries may include:
- Decreased range of motion
Risk Factors for Articular Cartilage Injuries
In addition to articular cartilage injuries sustained from direct impact, certain people are more likely to damage their articular cartilage through wear and tear.
Risk factors for articular cartilage injuries may include:
- Age: Articular cartilage can become weakened over decades.
- Health history: Individuals with poor joint alignment due to a preexisting condition or injury are more likely to develop an articular cartilage injury.
Treating Articular Cartilage Injuries at UT Health Austin
Upon evaluation of your joint, including imaging, your medical provider will discuss whether surgical or nonsurgical treatment is the best route depending on your goals and activity level. There are a variety of different surgical approaches to restore articular cartilage, many of which are conducted arthroscopically using minimally invasive incisions. Post-surgery, most patients experience a reduction in pain and improvement in function with rehabilitation. Your care team will walk you through the risks and benefits as well as what to expect from the procedure and recovery process.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. The Sports and Injury Clinic care team includes orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine physicians, physiatrists, physical therapists, chiropractors, nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, and more, who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
We also collaborate with our colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin and the Dell Medical School to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide you with comprehensive, whole-person orthopedic care to help you meet your goals. Treatment may include non-surgical interventions, such as lifestyle modifications, physical therapy, or medication and injections, or surgery may be the best course of action to help improve your pain and function. Advanced imaging and lab testing are also available on-site if needed.