Chondral defects occur when the smooth, firm tissue lining of the hip joint – known as articular cartilage – is damaged. Articular cartilage allows for the smooth motion in the ball and socket of the hip joint; additionally, it acts as the “shock absorber” for vigorous activities. Excessive friction eventually damages the cartilage, causing pain.
What causes it?
The most common causes of articular cartilage damage are degenerative diseases such as arthritis and osteoarthritis. Others include a traumatic event (such as a car accident) or overuse/repetitive motion.
How do you know you have it?
Chondral defects are characterized by pain and a decreased range of motion. Additionally, a “catching” sensation can present itself in the hip joint.
How we fix it
The OSI hip team is here to listen, discuss your concerns, and examine you for signs and symptoms of chondral defect. Under our care, any of the following may be used to determine the best course of treatment:
- Physical exam: Your doctor will begin with a thorough consultation to understand your symptoms and any factors contributing to your hip pain, followed by a full physical examination.
- MRI: An MRI is typically the most effective method to view and assess articular cartilage damage.
Less severe cases of chondral defect can be managed with nonsurgical interventions:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
More severe cases of chondral defect can result in surgical intervention to reduce symptoms, often an arthroscopic procedure to remove pieces of cartilage and any loose fragments that are floating within the hip joint.
Physical therapy will be recommended to restore joint mobility and strength.