Signs and Causes of Worn Joint Cartilage

Even if you’re not the sporty kind, healthy joints are very important for a high standard of living.

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Knowing what you’re dealing with is very important and it’s good to keep a lookout for the symptoms of cartilage wear as well as to know the causes.

Signs that your Joint Cartilege is Worn or Gone


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Pain is quite an unreliable symptom, especially if used to measure the severity of the problem. This is because pain usually does not appear at the outset and is unlikely to be one of the first symptoms to appear. If there is pain, it usually starts during or after physical activity and might last for quite a long while.

Grating sound/feeling

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When the cartilage is worn down, some of it might break into the joint space, allowing the synovial fluid to seep into the bone. When this happens, the ends of the joint become rough and may produce a grating sensation when you move your joint as the ends rub against each other.

As it gets worse, there may also be a grating sound whenever the joint moves.


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This is one of the first symptoms to appear. There will be some tenderness when pressure is applied to the joint such as if your knee feels tender while you kneel. The feeling might become worse during and after movement, and might linger even days after resting your joints.

Bony lumps

Bony spurs are outgrowths from the bone that come about because the exposed bone without protection from the cartilage might crack and break off, leading to the reformation of abnormal new bones. The spurs can be felt as bony lumps and might even be seen! This is a late complication of osteoarthritis but may not be present in every case.


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The articular cartilage keeps our joints mobile and if it breaks down, out joints will become stiff. This is especially evident if you are inactive for a long period of time. This stiffness tends to ease but the movement will come with pain.

Reduced joint flexibility

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If your joints are worn, you may find yourself unable to bend them like you could in the past and your range of motion diminishing. If you’ve had osteoarthritis for a while, your bones might fuse and you’d have a complete lack of flexibility.

Causes of Cartilege Loss

Poor alignment

If your cartilage loss is uneven, it’s possible that you might have a body alignment problem that’s causing wear and tear on certain joints faster as you are depending or putting more weight on them.


If you injure your cartilage in a sudden traumatic event, this could lead to a weak spot in the cartilage that can cause it to wear down quicker even as you go about your normal routine.


If you’ve had joint surgery, running and similar activities might harm your cartilage instead of helping it (like it should). It would be good to explore more moderate activities or low- to mid-impact exercises.


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1,500mg of Glucosamine, 1,200mg of Chondroitin or enough Vitamin C a day helps to protect cartilage. Vitamin E helps to protect against premature cell death due to obesity or chemical damage from medication. If you have a metabolic syndrome, resveratrol may help stabilise the cartilage’s structural breakdown.

Age and genetic factors

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Unfortunately, this cannot be helped but with age, more wear and tear comes about, resulting in less cartilage.


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The heavier you are, the more weight is placed on your cartilage, which causes more wear and tear.


Unfortunately, obesity does not only make you heavier, it also changes your insulin response system, which breaks down cartilage. The Metabolic Syndrome, which is found in people who are obese, high blood pressure, and early diabetes. This designer dramatically destabilises the chemical structure of cartilage.

Hormonal changes

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Leptin is the hormone most associated with cartilage breakdown. Leptin is the hormone that’s produced when your body tells you that you’re full. Thus, if you constantly eat too much, this hormone will be produced in excess and the Metabolic Syndrome will be set in.

Joint instability

If you have injured your ligaments, your joints might become unstable and move around too much. This may cause the cartilage to get broken down more.


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Some medications like steroids and anaesthetics, cause cartilage cell death. Some commonly used medications also cause cell death. It would be good to bring up your concerns to your doctor/pharmacist so that they can advise you accordingly.


If your joint pains are getting you down, why not consider cryotherapy? It’s similar to taking a cold shower and helps with inflammatory problems. If you are experiencing joint pains due to obesity, this treatment will help you accelerate weight loss as well!

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