Symptoms of cartilage damage 

The symptoms of articular cartilage damage include swelling, joint pain, stiffness and 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, which is known as haemarthrosis.

There may also be swelling and dark red blotches on the skin that are similar to bruises.

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. You may need to be referred to a specialist in hospital for assessment and treatment as it can be difficult to tell how severe the cartilage damage is.

Page last reviewed: 11/07/2014

Next review due: 11/07/2016