Can Cartilage Heal On Its Own?

Cartilage is an extremely important structure of the body. It is a firm band of tissue that connects bone to bone. It protects the bones from rubbing against each other which can result in early degeneration of the bones giving rise to painful conditions like arthritis.

Cartilage can be found in various joints of the body like the elbow, knee, hip, ribs, ankles, and even in the ears and nose; however, the cartilage in the knee joint is more vulnerable to injuries and damage as it is the knee joint which is perhaps the busiest weightbearing joint in the body along with ankles and hip.[1]

A damaged cartilage can lead to severe pain and restriction motion, especially in the knee joint. This article gives a brief overview of whether cartilage can heal on its own.

Can Cartilage Heal On Its Own?

Can Cartilage Heal On Its Own?

The answer to this question is no. The cartilage does not have any blood vessels and thus it does not get any oxygenated blood which can help a damaged cartilage regenerate itself. Furthermore, once the bones of an individual stops growing which is usually by the age of 15 or 16, the chances of a damaged cartilage repairing itself virtually ceases.

A recent study conducted on 6 subjects in which 3 had healthy cartilage and 3 had osteoarthritis was done to check the cartilage. It was concluded after the study that there was no cartilage healing that was taking place on its own and the damage was more or less permanent.

However, with the advent of new technology stem cell therapy has come up where stem cells injected influence the immune system of the body in such a way that it paves the way for regeneration of the damaged cartilage.

In conclusion, while it is not possible for a damaged cartilage to heal on its own once an individual crosses the age of 15, there are treatments which are now available albeit under various stages of investigation that have shown that it is possible for cartilage to regenerate and heal on its own.[2]


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