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A cartilage is a vital protective and connective tissue, present in the joints, ribs, spine across the body. Cartilages provide stability, cushioning, and lubrication in the joints of the body. Damage to the cartilage can result in restricted motion, recurring pain, and infections.
Cartilage tears and injuries in elderly people is often due to the cumulative wear and tear the cartilage has experienced in the lifetime. In younger, more active people, however cartilage damage is often a result of physical exertion due to sports, or accidents.
The most common symptoms of cartilage tears and injuries are:
These symptoms require proper care and treatment which an orthopedic doctor provides. Your doctor will perform the following tests to determine the extent of cartilage damage.
• Physical Examination: Your orthopaedic doctor will determine your range of motion, inflammation, and swelling through a physical exam.
• X-rays and MRI Scans: To ascertain if there is corresponding bone fracture or ligament damage that must be treated as well.
After proper diagnosis of cartilage tear, the orthopedic doctor will draw out an effective treatment plan, depending on your unique conditions. Treatment of an injury to a cartilage includes the following.
You may be prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) to reduce the pain and swelling caused by cartilage damage. NSAIDs can have potential side effects so ensure you follow your doctor recommended dosage. Steroidal injections, usually cortisone, are administered to help prevent inflammation and provide pain relief.
A minimally invasive surgical procedure to repair damaged cartilage. A tiny incision is made in the region of the damaged cartilage, and a tiny fiber-optic camera is inserted allowing the orthopedic surgeon perform precise repairs of the damaged tissue. Arthroscopic surgery lasts around one hour, and the patient is usually discharged within the same day.
Healthy cartilage cells from other parts of your body are injected into the site of your cartilage tear or injury. The implanted cartilage cells stimulate the regeneration of hyaline cartilage, as on its own, damaged cartilage cannot heal or regrow.
Your orthopedic doctor will help you on the path to recovery. The goal is to help you regain proper functioning in the affected region, and allowing you retain to your prior routine before the injury occurred. Physical therapy will also be recommended as part of your rehabilitation program, on the road to healthy joints.
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