The ends of our joint surfaces are lined with articular cartilage. This cartilage is made up of small cells called chondrocytes, along with a combination of proteins, collagen, and lots of water. In healthy joints, this durable cartilage allows joint surfaces to move against one another with minimal friction. Cartilage also acts as a shock absorber, by facilitating the transmission of loads to the underlying (subchondral) bone.
Losing cartilage in certain areas can often interfere with the normal movement of joints and limbs. This can result in pain and being less able to carry out regular daily or sporting activities.
In some cases, it may be possible for us to fill missing sections with new cartilage which provides new protection for the joint surface. However, in cases where there are more extensive areas of missing or damaged cartilage, there is an increased likelihood of arthritis and other management options may have to be explored.
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