How Can You Repair and Regrow Cartilage?

October 7, 2022

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Cartilage regeneration is possibly the most important thing you can do for your knees. If you have osteoarthritis, cartilage degeneration, or a torn meniscus, it’s crucial to replace the lost tissue with cartilage. But what exactly is cartilage?

Cartilage is an elastic tissue in your joints that cushions and protects them from injury. It allows your bones to move freely within their sockets—this is why people get knee pain when they kneel. Cartilage also helps to heal after injuries by preventing scar tissue from forming around damaged areas.

What Treatments Are Possible to Regrow Cartilage

If you’ve ever heard of ACL reconstruction surgery, which involves grafting new cartilage into the knee joint, then you know that the process can be pretty painful—and even dangerous! That’s because the grafts themselves don’t last long before they start to deteriorate and need replacing again.

If this sounds like something you’d like to avoid (or if you’re looking for a quicker way to get up and running again), then we recommend trying one of these methods:

Membrane-induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation (MACI) 

This is a procedure in which the patient’s cells are used to build new cartilage. The cells are taken from the patient’s body and grown in a culture medium until they become cartilage cells. These cultured cartilage cells then go back into the patient’s body, where they start growing into healthy cartilage and attaching themselves to the existing bone, which acts as scaffolding for new bone growth. This procedure does not involve surgery and can be done at home. 

Osteochondral Grafting 

This is another option for regrowing healthy tissue in the damaged area. This involves taking a small piece of healthy bone from elsewhere in the body and placing it against the damaged area of cartilage. The patient will then need to undergo physical therapy for at least two years to help their new bone grow strong enough to support weight-bearing activities like walking or running.

Osteoarticular Transfer System (OATS) 

This procedure involves removing one side of a joint capsule, reattaching it to another joint capsule, then using that joint capsule as a scaffold for a new one to repair damage caused by osteoarthritis or arthritis. A similar procedure called Osteotomy involves removing a piece of cartilage and replacing it with fibrous material like polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). You can do this independently or with other treatments such as OATS or MACI.

Does Glucosamine Rebuild Cartilage?

Glucosamine is the name of a compound that acts as a building block for hyaluronic acid, which is a component of cartilage. When taken orally, glucosamine can act as an anti-inflammatory agent and help with pain management. However, no evidence taking glucosamine orally or taking it through injection has any effect on rebuilding damaged cartilage.

Can You Rebuild Cartilage Once It’s Gone?

Yes, rebuilding your cartilage can be rebuilt once an injury or disease has damaged it. The process of cartilage reconstruction involves taking small pieces of healthy cartilage and transplanting them into the damaged area. This procedure helps heal damaged joints, preventing further damage and pain.

It’s possible to rebuild your damaged cartilage by following these simple steps:

  • Identify any signs of inflammation or tissue damage. These include pain, tenderness, swelling, redness, and heat sensations in the affected area.
  • Apply ice packs on the injured area at least thrice daily for 15 minutes to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Avoid high-impact activities such as running or jumping until your symptoms subside entirely (usually within four weeks).

Whether you’re just starting to notice a little bump on your knee, or you’ve got cavities in the cartilage of your knee and want to prevent them from getting worse, there are several options for regrowing or rebuilding cartilage. Fill out the form and our team at Integrative Spine and Sports will help you find the best option suited for you.

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