Articular cartilage injury : Types, causes, symptoms, treatment

Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Dr. Saqib Mueed

Table of Contents

Articular cartilage injury is a condition that affects the cartilage that covers the joints. This cartilage is important because it helps to protect the bones that make up the joint. Articular cartilage injury can occur in any joint in the body, but it is most common in the shoulder, knee, elbow, etc.


The most common types of articular cartilage injury are medial collateral ligament (MCL) and medial epicondyle (ME) tears. Injuries to these tissues can cause pain, swelling, and a limited range of motion. but the most common are meniscus tears and cruciate ligament tears. Meniscus tears are the most common type of cartilage tear, and they occur when the meniscus, a layer of cartilage that lies between the thighbone and the femur disturbed.


Articular cartilage injury is typically caused by a direct blow to the shoulder, such as from a fall or a football tackle. The force of the blow can damage the cartilage in the shoulder joint, leading to pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Articular cartilage is a thin, rubbery tissue that covers the inside of the shoulder joint. It helps keep the shoulder joint in its correct position and allows it to move smoothly. If the cartilage is damaged, it can no longer do its job and the shoulder may become stiff and painful. Articular cartilage injury can also lead to a condition called shoulder instability, which can make it difficult to move the arm. Some other symptoms are below.

  • Inflammation swelling
  • Warmer injured area
  • Pain
  • Fractures can be observed in some cases
  • Hemarthrosis
  • Recurring discomfort


Articular cartilage injuries occurred due to wear and tear of the cartilage. In other words, it may arise from the injuries that are traumatic and cause degeneration and damage.

There are a number of different factors that can lead to articular cartilage injury, including injuries that occur during sports or everyday activities.

Articular cartilage can be damaged by normal wear and tear, a direct blow, or other trauma that can injure the articular cartilage.

The injury depends on the location of the damage and the intensity of the damage. sometimes it’s capable being imagined that the cells of cartilage restore and heal themselves.


When an individual experiences pain in their injured area, it is important to consult a doctor to investigate the issue further. The doctor may order an x-ray or CT scan to determine the extent of the damage. If the individual is unable to move their shoulder, the doctor may recommend an MRI. In certain cases, an MRI may not be necessary.

If the individual is able to move their shoulder, the doctor may ask them to move the injured area in various directions. If the individual experiences pain when they move the shoulder or other area, the doctor may diagnose articular cartilage injury. 


Articular cartilage injury is a common injury in athletes and can occur from a variety of sources, such as repetitive contact sports, falls, or even simply from aging. Treatment typically involves a combination of rest, ice, and physical therapy. If the injury is severe, surgery may be required.

 Treatment typically involves a combination of rest, ice, and physical therapy. Physical therapy may include exercises to restore range of motion and strength in the injured joint, as well as massage.

If surgery is required, it can be done with a mutual understanding between doctor and patient. [1]Articular cartilage: structure, injuries and review of management | British Medical Bulletin | Oxford Academic ( [2] [3]


Reviewed by:

Dr. Shahid Bukhari


Ex. Registrar DOW Medical College Karachi

Medical Officer Aga Khan University Hospital Karachi

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1Articular cartilage: structure, injuries and review of management | British Medical Bulletin | Oxford Academic (

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