How to Diagnose Knee Cartilage Injuries
Because there can be a long list of reasons why a patient may complain of pain in the knee, the symptoms of a cartilage injury may overlap with other injuries in the joint. Dr. Boykin will thoroughly examine the knee, compare it to the other knee, and conduct a series of tests to exclude the possibility that the pain is being caused by a different issue. An X-ray will be performed at the initial visit to assess for other injuries, OCD lesions, and osteoarthritis. If it is suspected that the injury is to the cartilage in the knee joint, Dr. Boykin will perform a MRI so that he can view in detail the chondral surfaces of the joint and the underlying bone. Once a cartilage injury has been diagnosed, Dr. Boykin will explain exactly what the injury consists of, the size, location, and treatment options.
Treatment Options for Knee Cartilage Injuries
Depending upon Dr. Boykin’s exam, imaging, and the grade of the injury he may first recommend a non-surgical treatment. Minor cartilage injuries often respond well to:
- Physical therapy
- Icing of the knee
- Elevation of the injured knee
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Rest from activities that cause the knee to flare up
If non-surgical methods of treatment prove not to be beneficial or if the initial injury is found to be severe, Dr. Boykin may recommend a surgical treatment.
Surgical Treatment for Knee Cartilage Injuries
The surgeries that will be performed for chondral damage depend upon the grade of the injury as well as the method Dr. Boykin believes will provide the patient the best outcome. There are multiple different types of surgeries that Dr. Boykin will utilize depending on the type of damage that is encountered, the patient’s age and activity preferences, and previous surgeries. Many of these procedures are performed with minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, while others may require a small open incision to complete the surgery.
- Microfracture (marrow stimulation)
- Debridement and chondroplasty
- Osteochondral Autograft Transfer
- Osteochondral Allograft Transplantation
Dr. Robert Boykin is an orthopedic surgeon treating patients in Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding North Carolina communities. If you have any further questions or are interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Boykin to discuss a cartilage injury or any other knee problem, please contact his office.