Shattered cartilage is cartilage that fragments, such as when ear piercings are performed. Cartilage can also be shattered by a strong impact. In addition to cartilage fragments, vascular bleeding may ensue from joint cartilage fractures.
When joint cartilage is damaged, the affected area becomes hot, swollen, tender, sore, and painful. As damage proceeds, immobility and a decrease in mobility may ensue. In extreme circumstances, cartilage fragments can freeze up joints and cause bleeding within the joint. Damage to articular cartilage typically affects the knee, but it can also impact the elbow, wrist, ankle, shoulder, and hip joint.
Direct hits, such as those sustained in a bad fall or car accident, can cause significant cartilage injury. People who participate in high-impact sports, such as mixed martial arts, football, or wrestling, are at greater risk. Over time, cartilage may become compromised if a joint is subjected to extended stress. Obese individuals are more susceptible to wear-and-tear harm than normal-weight individuals. Osteoarthritis is caused by inflammation, cartilage degradation, and progressive cartilage loss.
Compared to other body components, it takes significantly longer for damaged cartilage to recover. This is because blood cells aid in tissue repair by diffusion, while cartilage lacks a blood supply.
A diagnosis of articular cartilage injury may be heartbreaking, but modern noninvasive techniques make the diagnostic process easier. Using a magnetic field and radio waves, magnetic resonance imaging creates comprehensive images of the body that can reveal cartilage damage. When joint injury is not visible, an arthroscope is inserted to evaluate and diagnose the issue.