Cartilage damage

CD Meanings

According to abbreviationfinder, CD stands for cartilage damage. Cartilage damage is a joint disease that occurs in different joints in the body. Depending on how severely the respective cartilage is damaged and what kind of cartilage it is, a painless restoration of the cartilage function can be achieved with a suitable therapy.

What is cartilage damage?

Poor posture such as so-called bowlegs or knock knees can lead to damage to the cartilage layer due to the permanent incorrect strain. The same also applies to severe obesity, which puts undue stress on the joints when walking.

As the name suggests, cartilage damage means damage to the cartilage. The bones meet in the joints.

So that there is no unpleasant friction, the ends of the bones are covered with what is known as cartilage tissue. This can absorb shock when walking and thus protect the bones or the joint. If this layer wears away, for example due to illness or wear and tear, the smooth movement of the joint is restricted.

There is also pain, which only occurs when the cartilage tissue has been completely destroyed. Knee and hip joints are particularly frequently affected. If detected early, the cartilage can be regenerated by medical measures. Once the layer has been completely removed, it can no longer be restored.


The causes of cartilage damage can be varied. Experts distinguish between mechanical and biochemical causes. The former may be the result of an accident or other injury, for example.

Even a severe sprain can lead to cartilage damage. Poor posture such as so-called bowlegs or knock knees can lead to damage to the cartilage layer due to the permanent incorrect strain. The same also applies to severe obesity, which puts undue stress on the joints when walking.

The biochemical causes of cartilage damage include metabolic diseases. Illnesses such as gout, rheumatism or circulatory disorders can permanently damage the cartilage layer. Finally, age-related calcification can also cause the cartilage to gradually degrade.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Cartilage damage manifests itself primarily through pain when walking and general stress on the affected joint. The pain can lead to a blockage of the joint, which in turn results in restricted movement. In isolated cases, swelling occurs as a result of bleeding or fluid accumulation in the tissue.

The pain only occurs at the beginning after extensive strain on the joint. In particular, when running, climbing stairs and walking, complaints occur, which usually lead to a protective posture. Many sufferers complain of pain, especially in the morning and after sitting for a long time. The so-called start -up pain is accompanied by a noticeable crunching or cracking of the damaged joints.

A long-lasting misalignment can lead to joint wear, pressure points, nerve pain and other complaints. Some sufferers are also sensitive to the weather. Untreated cartilage damage can lead to the development of chronic pain. This is usually accompanied by a strong feeling of discomfort.

Athletes in particular suffer from severe cartilage damage and feel restricted in their quality of life. In the long term, this can lead to the development of psychological complaints, such as depressive moods, irritability and personality changes. If the cartilage damage is treated early, the symptoms usually subside after a few weeks.

Diagnosis & History

If there is a suspicion of cartilage damage, this is usually diagnosed by the doctor treating you using an X-ray examination. This can already provide information about a degenerative change in the cartilage tissue. An MRT, a magnetic resonance tomography, can be used to help determine the extent to which the cartilage has already been damaged and what the chances of recovery are.

In principle, cartilage damage can be treated well medically; however, it depends on the stage of the damage. If the disease is detected early, there is a good chance that the cartilage layer can regenerate almost completely. However, once they have completely degraded, there is no way to recover them.


In the case of cartilage damage, the further course of the disease in most cases depends very much on the affected region of the body, so that no general prediction is possible. Most patients suffer from severe joint pain due to cartilage damage. This pain can significantly restrict the patient’s everyday life and reduce the quality of life.

Furthermore, there are also restrictions on movement and general restrictions in everyday life. It is not uncommon for swelling or bruising to occur. If the cartilage damage is not treated, osteoarthritis develops in most cases. This can lead to irreversible consequential damage.

In most cases, cartilage damage is treated with medication. There are no further complications. In some cases, however, an operation is necessary to remedy the symptoms. If necessary, the patient must take antibiotics after the procedure to prevent inflammation.

In most cases, life expectancy is not reduced or limited by this disease. After the treatment, the affected person can usually use the joints normally again.

When should you go to the doctor?

People who experience joint pain after a sprain or related to a medical condition should see a doctor the same day. Symptoms such as restricted movement, swelling and bruising indicate cartilage damage. Medical advice is required if the symptoms do not go away on their own or even get worse. If other symptoms develop, a doctor must be called immediately. Cartilage damage can be treated well, but it also progresses quickly and causes increasing pain.

Before irreversible consequential damage occurs, the injury must be clarified and treated. Individuals suffering from bow legs or knock knees are particularly at risk. The same applies to people who are overweight, have a rheumatic disease, gout or circulatory disorders. If you are part of this risk group, it is best to inform your doctor about the symptoms mentioned. At the latest when painful swellings or restrictions in the mobility of the affected part of the body are noticed, a visit to the family doctor is indicated. Other contact points are the orthopedist or a specialist in joint and bone diseases.

Treatment & Therapy

If cartilage damage has been clearly diagnosed, the doctor treating you will initiate appropriate therapy. This depends in particular on the severity of the damage and also on the position of the joint in the body. The conservative form of therapy usually includes drug treatment, in which the pain that is initially present is alleviated.

At the same time, antirheumatic drugs are administered to eliminate or reduce any inflammatory processes in the joint. The administration of drugs intended to stimulate the metabolism in the cartilage can help to increase the mobility of the joint. Here, for example, hyaluronic acid can be administered, which is also found in the natural synovial fluid. If the cartilage damage has progressed too far or if drug therapy does not work, surgical intervention can be useful.

In this case, the cartilage can be surgically smoothed. This leads to a reduction in any inflammation and to a frictionless and largely painless movement of the joint. If the cartilage has not been damaged too much, only a thin layer can be removed, after which the cartilage tissue regenerates itself and the symptoms subside.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis of cartilage damage depends on the affected joint and the possibility of therapy. In some cases, the functional activity of the joint and thus the cartilage function can be restored. The administration of medication causes the cartilage to be rebuilt. If movement sequences are optimized and changed at the same time, there is a chance of complete freedom from symptoms.

The further the cartilage damage has progressed, the less likely it is to recover. The prognosis worsens without changes in the movement sequences and physical stress or the use of medical care. Pain, irregularities in the musculoskeletal system and restricted mobility increase. In some patients, surgery is necessary as a last resort, since the administration of medication is not sufficient in the case of advanced cartilage damage. Surgery comes with the usual risks and side effects, and it can lead to permanent health problems. If an operation proceeds without further complications, the patient will experience an improvement in their health afterwards.

The relief of existing symptoms is documented in most cases. Nevertheless, there may be a need to restructure everyday processes, since physical resilience does not correspond to that of a person with a natural physique. Sports activities or professional activities cannot always be continued in the same way as the patient was doing before the surgery.


Cartilage damage can be prevented in several ways. Preventing or reducing excess weight relieves the joints and prevents possible damage to the cartilage. Malpositions such as knock knees or bowlegs should be corrected if possible so that there is no later cartilage damage. Cartilage damage caused by metabolic diseases or injuries cannot be prevented. If there is the first suspicion of a corresponding damage to the joints, it is advisable to consult a doctor (usually an orthopaedist.


The cartilage damage requires consistent aftercare. A massively damaged cartilage is no longer reversible, but the respective joint can be stabilized with targeted training of the surrounding muscles. Follow-up care usually takes place in consultation with the treating orthopedist or physiotherapist. The specialized rehabilitation sport with trainers qualified for this clinical picture is also a professional address in this context.

Muscles that can stabilize a joint are specifically strengthened during aftercare. The patient often learns exercises in physiotherapy or rehabilitation sports, which are then continued independently at home or in the fitness studio. The correct execution of the exercises and an individually dosed load are particularly important here.

Aftercare for cartilage damage is also an important topic in everyday life. Ideally, the joint affected by the clinical picture should no longer be subjected to unphysiological stress. This means that, for example, in the knee joint, shearing loads or excessive bending are avoided. However, the joint does not generally need to be spared.

The joint fluid (synovia), which is formed during movement, protects the joint. Drinking enough water can also have a positive effect here. Staying in unhealthy postures for a long time should also be replaced by regular exercise.

You can do that yourself

If there is existing cartilage damage, there are many ways to slow down the progression of the disease. Although self-help measures cannot completely avoid surgical intervention, they can often postpone it for many years.

Sufficient exercise is particularly important – preferably in the form of joint-gentle sports such as swimming, cycling or Nordic walking. The patient decides which type of sport is most suitable in consultation with the doctor treating him. If you don’t want to do sports actively, you should at least integrate more exercise into your everyday life. Even doing without elevators and escalators has a positive effect on overall health and can delay the further spread of cartilage damage.

In order to reduce the stress on the joints, it is also advisable to avoid or reduce obesity. Exercise is also very important here, as is a healthy, balanced and low-fat diet. Pain ointments that contain cortisone-free anti- rheumatic drugs (ketoprofen, indomethacin) have proven particularly effective for acute pain, but many affected people also find warming ointments with the active ingredients nicoboxil and nonivamide beneficial.

If there is acute joint inflammation, however, cooling compresses and ointments are particularly recommended. Herbal medicines containing frankincense or devil’s claw can also be used to accompany the therapy.

Cartilage damage