Cartilage damage - Symptoms 

Symptoms of cartilage damage 

Symptoms of cartilage damage include:

  • swelling
  • joint pain
  • stiffness
  • a decreased range of movement in the affected joint

If the damage is severe, a piece of cartilage can break off and become loose. If this happens, the loose piece of cartilage may affect the movement of your joint. This can cause a feeling of the joint ‘locking’ or catching. Sometimes, the joint may also give way.

The most common location for cartilage damage is in the knee joint. In some cases of knee joint damage, bleeding can occur inside the knee joint. This is known as haemarthrosis and can lead to skin around the joint swelling up. Dark red blotches similar to bruises may also develop on the skin.

Less common locations for cartilage damage include:

  • the shoulder
  • the hip joint
  • the elbow
  • the wrist
  • the ankle

When to seek medical advice

Always visit your GP if you suspect you have damaged your cartilage. It can be difficult to assess the severity of the damage so a medical diagnosis is advisable.

Page last reviewed: 06/06/2012

Next review due: 06/06/2014

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