Chondral Defects - FAQ

What are the most important things a person can do to limit chondral or cartilage damage in the knee?

While there is not one specific thing that can prevent cartilage damage in the knee, there are a few measures that can be taken to delay the process.

  • Since excess weight can cause damaged cartilage to wear down more quickly, losing extra pounds may be helpful.
  • A person with cartilage damage should avoid high impact activities, such as prolonged running or jumping sports. These are very hard on the knee and can speed the progression of cartilage damage.
  • Even those with significant joint damage will benefit from mild to moderate activities, such as walking, bicycling, or running in water.

My doctor has told me that I have arthritis and will need an artificial knee in the next few years. Would I be a candidate for growing my own cartilage so I won't need an artificial knee?

The newer techniques involving cartilage growth will not work if a patient is very bowlegged, knock-kneed, or has bone rubbing on bone. The newly grown cartilage would be quickly rubbed away by the worn surfaces. At some point in the progression of arthritis, only a total knee replacement can offer pain relief.

Will glucosamine and chondroitin make new cartilage?

Most studies of the effects of glucosamine and chondroitin have been done in animals, and most of the reported effects are based on hearsay rather than scientific evidence. Human studies are currently underway and reported results do show some promise that these substances can relieve the inflammation caused by arthritis in 60-70% of patients. It is doubtful, however, that they can cause new cartilage to grow. Diabetics and individuals taking blood thinners should not use these medications without a doctor's approval.


About Doctor Barrow...

Dr Michael Stuart Barrow is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who specialises in knee surgery. He practices from Sunninghill Hospital and the Waterfall Sports Centre.
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Contact Details

Dr. Michael Barrow

Tel: 011 806 1772/0 and 011 806 1657
Fax: 011 806 1796
Cell: 082 925 4940

After Hours:
Sunninghill Casualty: 011 806 1652

Sunninghill Hospital
Suite 5, East Wing
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