What are the Symptoms of Cartilage Damage in the Knee?

Cartilage damage in the knee can manifest in various symptoms, depending on the extent and location of the damage. Common symptoms of cartilage damage in the knee include:

  1. Knee Pain:
    • Persistent or intermittent pain in the knee joint, which may worsen during physical activity, weight-bearing, or after prolonged periods of rest.
  2. Swelling and Inflammation:
    • Swelling or fluid accumulation in the knee joint, often accompanied by redness and warmth around the affected area.
  3. Stiffness and Reduced Range of Motion:
    • Difficulty in fully bending or straightening the knee, as well as stiffness or tightness in the joint.
  4. Cracking or Popping Sensations:
    • Audible or palpable cracking, popping, or grinding sensations within the knee joint during movement, which can indicate irregular surfaces due to cartilage damage.
  5. Locking or Catching Sensation:
    • A feeling of the knee “catching” or “locking” during movement, which may be caused by loose cartilage or irregular cartilage surfaces.
  6. Weakness and Instability:
    • Weakness in the knee, particularly during weight-bearing activities, and a sense of instability or giving way in the joint.
  7. Difficulty Walking or Bearing Weight:
    • Difficulty in walking, especially on uneven surfaces, and discomfort while bearing weight on the affected knee.
  8. Decreased Athletic Performance:
    • Athletes may experience a decline in performance due to compromised knee function and limitations in mobility.
  9. Deformities:
    • In advanced cases, cartilage damage can lead to joint deformities, particularly if left untreated over time.
  10. Limited Flexibility:
    • Reduced flexibility and difficulty performing activities that require a wide range of motion in the knee joint.
  11. Tenderness to Touch:
    • Increased tenderness or sensitivity to touch around the affected area of the knee.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent knee pain, swelling, or other concerning symptoms. A healthcare professional can conduct a thorough examination, possibly including imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or arthroscopy, to diagnose cartilage damage accurately. Treatment options may include physical therapy, pain management, lifestyle modifications, and in some cases, surgical interventions like arthroscopic surgery or cartilage repair procedures. Early detection and appropriate management are essential for preserving knee function and preventing further damage.

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