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Articular Cartilage Injury

Learn More about ACI's

Articular Cartilage Injury (ACI), is used to describe damage to a type of cartilage in the knee. The ends of the three bones in the knee joint are covered with what is know as articular cartilage, a tough, elastic material that helps absorb shock and allows the knee joint to move smoothly.

Articular knee injurys occur most often in young adults and can be caused by injury (trauma), overuse, parts out of alignment, or muscle weakness. Instead of gliding smoothly across the lower end of the thigh bone, the knee cap rubs against it, thereby roughening the cartilage underneath the knee cap.


The most frequent symptom of a cartilage injury is a dull pain around or under the knee cap that worsens when walking down stairs or hills. A person may also feel pain when climbing stairs or when the knee bears weight as it straightens. The disorder is common in runners and is also seen in skiers, cyclists, and soccer players.

Articular Cartilage Treatment

A difficult challenge for orthopedic surgeons is the treatment of injured joint surface cartilage in the young and active patient. Localized damage to one of the surfaces of the knee joint can lead to degradation and destruction of the opposing healthy joint surface. Total knee replacement is an excellent option in the older patient, but for young active patients who are not candidates for knee replacement we must find a way to get healing of these injured surfaces with healthy hyaline cartilage to avoid long-term problems with degenerative arthritis. Traditional treatments have focused on stimulating the bone at the base of a full thickness cartilage defect by drilling, burring, or microfracturing with a special pick. These treatments cause bleeding and healing with fibrocartilage or "scar cartilage" which is not as resilient as normal hyaline cartilage. These treatments remain the first line of treatment for isolated lesions of articular cartilage in the knee.

Clinical Research

Research is a key component in identifying new treatment pathways to alleviate the potential of long-term problems that can be associated with the microfracturing procedure. PRG is engaging with a local group of orthopedic surgeons to test the safety and effectiveness of a novel treatment therapy for patients with qualifying ACI’s with the aim of providing patients with optimal long-term outcomes. To learn more about becoming a participant complete the form on the right or call us at 480-889-1211.

Learn more and see if you qualify.

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