Cartilage Tissue Degeneration
Cartilage is found in almost all of the body’s joints, but cartilage in joints that allow movement is of particular importance. Damage or osteoarthritis in cartilage, also known as cartilage tissue, can cause pain on the one hand, and functional problems on the other. When cartilage tissue is damaged for any reason, it is very difficult for it to repair itself if the patient is not a child or young adult. Cartilage tissue degeneration can develop due to aging, as well as due to traumatic conditions such as falls or injuries, especially in young people and children. Therefore, if cartilage tissue degeneration that occurs in later life causes joint problems, the treatment is usually surgical.
Why Does Calcification Occur In The Body?
Cartilage tissue degeneration, also known as calcification, which can occur due to many reasons, is considered as one of the important orthopaedic problems. If the lesions in the cartilage tissue are larger than 1 cm, calcification may occur. Although cartilage tissue degeneration can heal spontaneously in children and young people, it cannot heal spontaneously in older ages. Cartilage tissue degeneration may occur due to overweight, trauma, joint imbalance, nutritional habits, medications, malalignment and avascular neurosis, as well as genetic factors.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cartilage Tissue Degeneration?
Symptoms of cartilage tissue degeneration usually occur gradually and may increase in severity over time. The most common symptom of cartilage tissue degeneration is pain. The pain occurs especially during movement and is relieved at rest. If the degeneration is advanced, pain may also occur at rest.
Apart from pain, the most common symptoms of cartilage tissue degeneration are;
- Stiffness, especially in the morning or after long periods of inactivity,
- Restriction of joint movements and the inability to perform activities of daily living in advanced stages of the disease,
- In rare cases, deformities.
Although the problem in cartilage tissue degeneration occurs in the cartilage, in the later stages of the disease, damage to the bones or muscles under the cartilage may also begin to occur.
How To Treat Calcification In The Body?
Cartilage tissue degeneration occurring in childhood usually heals spontaneously as a result of follow-up. However, spontaneous recovery is not possible at later ages. The first treatment method to be applied in cartilage tissue degeneration is restriction of movements and activities. Immediately afterwards, anti-inflammatory treatment, intra-knee hyaluronic acid injection, bandages and walking corsets, intra-knee stem cell injections, intra-knee PRP injections or physical therapy rehabilitation applications can be used as non-surgical treatment methods:
Hyaluronic acid, also called HA, which has a viscoelastic structure, is prepared as a gel and has a lubricating effect. HA is injected into the knee. Depending on the patient’s pain, the injection can be repeated every 6 months. After the injection, the patient is asked to stay away from physical activities for a few days. Although complications such as infection, bleeding or swelling may occur, this possibility is very low. In addition to HA treatment, glucosamine supportive treatment in tablet form can also be used. Although there are no studies showing that this treatment method gives definite results, it has been observed that patients’ pain is alleviated.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection, also known as planet rich plasma or platelet-rich plasma therapy, is a procedure that involves taking a patient’s own blood with a special machine and separating the platelet cells, which are a type of blood cell. The success of PRP injection therapy can be affected by the patient’s age, whether they have any systemic diseases, the patient’s age, the medications they are taking, and diseases such as diabetes.
Physical Therapy And Exercise Applications
In order to reduce the load on the cartilage, it is of great importance to strengthen the muscles and this is where exercise applications come into play. In addition to exercise, some lifestyle changes also help to reduce pain. Some of these changes are as follows: Walking or swimming in water, using a lift instead of going up and down stairs, avoiding weight gain and using a cane. Apart from all these, hot compresses or stretching movements when pain is not felt, ice applications and rest will be useful when pain is present. Both in terms of this disease and in order to have a healthier life, people should regularly perform age-appropriate sports activities.
Stem Cell Therapy
In stem cell therapy, also called lipogems, the stem cells in the fat cells taken from the abdomen or the inner part of the upper legs are given to the areas where the disease is present, thus aiming to repair the damaged structures. This procedure, which consists of 3 different stages: removal of fat tissue, separation of stem cells and injection into the damaged area, is usually performed in a single session and under local anaesthesia.
In cases where the above non-surgical treatment methods do not work, surgery may be used. The treatment method to be used varies according to the patient’s age, activity level, sporting activities and the extent of the damage to the cartilage. A detailed physical examination is required and various imaging techniques are used in the planning of the operation. The most common methods used in surgical treatment are as follows: Microfracture method, mosaicplasty method, absorbable screw treatment in case of cartilage tissue rupture, cartilage cell transplantation, total knee replacement and partial knee replacement.
If cartilage tissue degeneration is left untreated, serious orthopaedic problems and dysfunctions can occur. This condition negatively affects the patient’s daily activities and comfort of life. Therefore, it is of great importance to plan the treatment process early, without delaying when symptoms appear.