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Athletic Training

Torn Cartilage



Does a torn cartlidge always need surgery? Can it heal by itself with little or no treatment? I think that I have a torn cartlidge in the same knee that I had surgery 14 years ago for a torn cartlidge again.


This is an excellent question.  Unlike ligaments, cartilage does not scar down and "heal".  It is not uncommon to have further tearing of the cartilage even years after surgery.  The reason for considering surgery is if the symptoms are affecting your activity and/or causing pain. 

I would schedule an appointment to see your surgeon for an evaluation.  It may not be torn.  You may do well with a short course of treatments and therapy to reduce swelling, increase motion and improve strength.

Good luck!

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Response by:

Vincent J O'Brien, ATC Vincent J O'Brien, ATC
Head Athletic Trainer
Clinical Instructor at the School of Allied Medical Professions
The Ohio State University