Cartilage is the extremely smooth, shiny white material that coats the ends of the bones in almost all of the joints in our body. Unfortunately, cartilage has a poor ability to repair itself when injured. Injuries to the smooth cartilage surface of the knee joint increase rubbing and friction in the knee, and predispose the knee to further cartilage wear and erosion.
There is another type of chondral defect - osteochondritis dissecans - which has the same end result but there is no history of an injury - the blood supply to the affected bit suddenly closes down, and the chunk of joint surface breaks off and falls into the joint as a loose body, leaving a chondral defect in the bone.
- Pain or aching
- Catching in the knee
Diagnosis usually begins with a thorough medical history, physical examination, x-ray and, quite often, MRI. Tenderness over the damaged area and swelling are common findings.