2 Indications and current treatments
2.1 Discrete chondral defects in articular cartilage usually occur as a result of trauma. The rough, irregular edges of a defect may cause inflammation, swelling, pain and difficulty walking. Progressive degeneration of a chondral defect can expose the underlying bone and lead to arthritis. If pieces of cartilage break off from the edges of a chondral defect this may cause cartilage damage elsewhere in the knee and lead to further arthritic changes.
2.2 Treatment options depend on the size and site of the chondral defect. The condition is usually chronic and different treatment strategies may be needed at different stages. Conservative treatment includes analgesics to relieve pain and inflammation. Physiotherapy and/or prescribed exercise may be used to improve knee function and mobility.