Cartilage Failure: Overview
Cartilage failure can be simply defined as inability to perform its core functions. A condition commonly known as Osteoarthritis (OA), failure can lead to limited range of motion, bone damage and, almost invariably, pain. After years of repeated wear and tear, the stress put on cartilage outdoes its capacity for self repair. Due in most cases to a combination of acute stress and chronic fatigue, OA directly manifests itself in a wearing away of the articulating surface and, in extreme cases, bone can be exposed in the joint. Imaging technology shows that this deterioration takes the form of parallel fissures of varying length. Too few in number and often directly targeted by failure mechanisms, chondrocytes are unable to reverse this trend.
Image Credit: http://www.durangoorthopedics.com/anatomy.html
On the left, a schematic of a healthy knee. On the right, a similar image of a severely arthritic knee.