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Cartilage Injuries

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Cartilage is a connective tissue that is found in many parts of the body, including the elbows. It acts as a cushion between the bones of joints. Though cartilage is a tough and flexible material, it is fairly easy to injure. A cartilage injury may be caused by progressive “wear and tear” damage over time, or due to a direct blow during a fall, sports collision, or automobile accident.

Symptoms of cartilage injuries include:

  • Difficulty moving the affected elbow
  • Inflammation (swelling)
  • Pain in the elbow
  • Stiffness


Physical examination
Your doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and collect your health history to help make the diagnosis.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Your doctor may order MRI imaging to assess your cartilage damage.

In this test, your specialist inserts a long, thin instrument (arthroscope) into your elbow joint to assess the cartilage injury.


Physical therapy
In most cases, your health care provider will prescribe rehabilitation therapy. Our physical therapists establish a unique plan of care that includes specific interventions for your condition and situation to help alleviate pain and improve mobility.

Your doctor may recommend you take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to help reduce inflammation while the injury heals. Sometimes, steroid injections are used to treat cartilage injuries.

If more conservative treatment options are not effective, your specialist may recommend you undergo surgery to repair your elbow cartilage injury.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

World-class care in an academic health system. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine. Our doctors, residents, nurses, and therapists work together to create healthy outcomes.

Questions? We're here to help.

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