Cartilage Tears

By Matt Paulus, MS, ATC, Site Coordinator

JOI Explains Cartilage Tears

By: Matt Paulus, MS, ATC, Site Coordinator

Cartilage tears are the most common cause of leg pain in active people, both young and old.
There are many causes of cartilage tears, many of which are related to the age of the person
and their activity level.

Cartilage, which is a white, gristle-like substance that covers the ends of bones where they
come in contact with one another, is commonly torn in the knee when a person twists the
area, resulting in swelling and pain. This injury is usually followed by stiffness that prevents
you from completely straightening or bending your knee. In many cases, your knee may feel
better with rest, but the symptoms are likely to return with any new physical activity. This type
of injury may have a long-term effect on your knee if proper treatment isn’t applied at the time
of the injury.  The common complaints are pain and popping in the joint.

Unlike arthritis pain, which typically develops over many years, the symptoms of
a degenerative tear of the cartilage can be quick to develop in a person previously active and

Arthroscopic surgery can be used to remove pieces of torn cartilage by making a tiny incision
and viewing the joint with a small fiber-optic instrument with a lighted tip. In some younger
people, the cartilage can be sewn back together and removal of the cartilage is avoided.
Symptoms of cartilage damage may be pain and tenderness in your knee, especially when
bearing weight, locking of the joint, giving way of the knee, and water on the knee, in some

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy can help by strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint and by decreasing pain. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you many want to consult a physician.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045. Come see us!

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