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Knee Cartilage Injury

Articular cartilage is a firm, rubbery tissue covering the ends of bones in joints, such as the knee and hip. It reduces friction in the joint and provides shock absorption. In the knee, damaged or deteriorated cartilage limits the joint’s normal movement and can cause significant pain. If the problem isn’t treated, it can worsen and eventually require knee replacement surgery.

Our Approach to Knee Cartilage Injuries

UCSF offers world-class care for both simple and complex injuries. Procedures to repair and regenerate cartilage are options for otherwise healthy knees affected by injury or certain disorders, although not for knees affected by osteoarthritis, a condition related to aging and other factors that causes cartilage to break down.

Surgical treatment is recommended for patients with knee cartilage damage or deterioration caused by:

  • Injury (what doctors call trauma), including sports injuries
  • Repetitive use of the joint
  • Congenital abnormalities (birth defects) that affect joint structure, such as osteochondritis dissecans
  • Hormonal or bone disorders that affect bone and joint development, such as vitamin D deficiency or avascular necrosis

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-orthopedics

    One of the nation's best for orthopedic care

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.