About this disease

What it is about

From birth, articular cartilage is subject to a lifelong wear process. This process is additionally accelerated by overloading, incorrect loading with altered leg axis, acute injuries and metabolic or circulatory disorders.


There are four stages: soft cartilage without superficial tears; fibrillation of the cartilage surface without deep tears; deep cartilage damage, but not extending to the bone; deep cartilage damage with unstable cartilage edges and full-thickness damage extending to the bone.

Symptoms and consequences

Pain under load or constant pain, swelling, restricted movement, blockages and reduced load-bearing capacity are the central symptoms of cartilage damage. Pain is caused by irritation of nerve endings located under the cartilage, changes in the blood flow and pressure conditions of the bone, or are produced by joint effusions. The subsequent capsular tension activates pain receptors and restricts mobility.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

The clinical examination is the basis, but it cannot show the exact localization and severity of the cartilage damage. X-ray images and axial images of the legs are used to show axial deviations (knock knees or bow legs). However, magnetic resonance imaging is indispensable in cartilage diagnostics.


Initially, we exhaust the conservative methods with decongestant measures, pain therapy, insoles, physiotherapy and hyaluronic acid injections. In the case of cartilage parts that are free in the joint and mechanically disturbing, these must be removed by means of a mirror examination. Occasionally, larger cartilage or bone tears can be reattached to the original site. Larger cartilage defects can be covered with a cartilage matrix. Aftercare following surgery is lengthy. Initially, six weeks of weight-bearing on sticks is required.

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