What is Articular Cartilage?
Articular cartilage is the tough, smooth white tissue that covers the ends of the bones where they come together to form joints. It is one of the most highly specialized tissues in the human body and facilitates almost frictionless movement of your joints. In fact, the coefficient of friction between 2 cartilage surfaces is smoother than ice on ice!
Unfortunately, as a consequence of its highly specialized nature, it has lost the ability to heal and as such articular cartilage damage has very limited intrinsic healing capacity.
What is Articular Cartilage made of?
Articular cartilage (also referred to as Hyaline cartilage) is a relatively acellular tissue compared to other tissues in the human body – like skin or internal organs. It is made of a dense, extracellular matrix (ECM) composed of specialized proteins and sugars. This ECM gives cartilage its structural properties and its ability to absorb load. Sparsely populated throughout this matrix are cells called chondrocytes. These cells are responsible for maintaining the structure of the ECM and therefore the cartilage itself.
Articular cartilage is avascular and aneural meaning that it does not have any blood vessels, nerves or lymphatics. This helps explain its limited self-healing capacity. Its principle function is to provide a smooth surface for the joints to move against each other without causing damage. The health of the joints depends largely on the status of the articular cartilage.
How is the articular cartilage injured?
When an individual suffers an injury or trauma to the knee, the articular cartilage can become damaged. Articular cartilage can also wear down through the natural aging process causing damage to the surface of the cartilage. This damage can range from softening of the cartilage, to cracks or breaks in the tissue. In the case of aging, the cartilage can wear away, leaving the bone exposed and causing a condition called osteoarthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis in the knee is one of the most painful articular cartilage injuries because it leaves the bone exposed, allowing them to rub together without the cushioning effects of the cartilage.
Articular Cartilage Specialist
When an individual suffers an injury or trauma to the knee, the articular cartilage can become damaged. Articular cartilage can also wear down through the natural aging process causing damage to the surface of the cartilage. Articular cartilage specialist, Doctor Armando Vidal provides diagnosis as well as arthroscopic stabilization surgery for patients in Vail, Aspen, and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities who have experienced an articular cartilage injury. Contact Dr. Vidal’s team today!
181 West Meadow Drive
Vail, CO 81657
226 Lusher Court
Frisco, CO 80443
322 Beard Creek Road
Edwards, CO 81632
Monday-Friday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
970-476-1100 General Appointment Scheduling