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Chondral Defects

Chondral defects of the hip occur when the firm, smooth 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, so when it’s damaged, it disrupts the hip movement. Additionally, the articular cartilage acts as the “shock absorber” for vigorous activities. Excessive friction eventually damages the cartilage, causing hip pain.

What causes Chondral Defects of the Hip?

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 Chondral Defects of the Hip?

Chondral defects of the hip are characterized by hip pain and a decreased range of motion. Additionally, a “catching” sensation can present itself in the hip joint.

How does OSI fix Chondral Defects of the Hip?

The board-certified OSI hip team will listen to your hip pain description, discuss your concerns, and examine your hip for signs and symptoms of chondral defect. Any, or all, of the following may be used to determine the best course of treatment:

  • Physical exam: Your OSI hip specialist will give you a thorough physical exam of the hip area that hurts.
  • MRI: An MRI is typically the most effective method to view and assess articular cartilage damage.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Less severe cases of chondral defect of the hip can be managed with nonsurgical interventions:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Icing
  • Physical therapy is available right at OSI 

Surgical Treatment

More severe cases of chondral defects of the hip 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. OSI has physical therapy right on site, so your recovery will remain under the watchful eye of your OSI hip surgeon.