Loss of Cartilage in the Knee Can Result in Bone-on-Bone Pain
What is Bone-on-Bone Pain?
As it sounds bone-on-bone is pain caused by the rubbing of your bones against one another. Also called osteoarthritis, it occurs when cartilage breaks down, leaving the bones without their protective linings(1). Knees are one of the joints most commonly affected by osteoarthritis.
Two Types of Knee Cartilage
Your knee possesses two types of cartilage. The first is called articular cartilage, and is a tough rubbery white tissue that covers the ends of bones. It serves as a protective layer and allows you to bend and move. The second type is called meniscal cartilage, often referred to as the meniscus. See much more detail on the meniscus from a recent blog here.
It acts as a shock absorber, and works with the articular cartilage to protect your knee from injury (1,2).
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can cause damage to or loss of these important joint components. As the most common form of arthritis, it affects millions of people each year, with approximately 46% of people developing it in their knees at some point in their lives (1, 3).
Women are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis, but there are many contributing factors; Injuries to your knees, frequent stress put on the joints from work or exercise, a tendency in your family towards developing osteoarthritis, and anatomic anomalies. Being overweight also puts you at great risk for this condition. Having a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 makes you seven times more likely to develop osteoarthritis (1).
Common Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the Knee
- Joint feels stiff especially when moving after sitting for a long period of time.
- Knee gets swollen or puffy
- A creaking or grinding noise can be heard when the joint is moved
- Knee feels wobbly, or like it could give out
- The joint can lock up (1)
Typical Non-Regenerative Treatment Options
To date there is no way to reverse this condition; the loss of cartilage is permanent. There are however several options to ease the symptoms including therapy, surgery, and injections.
As with most conditions, treatment begins with the least invasive. Doctors often recommend over-the-counter pain medication, or physical therapy to ease pain and exercise the remaining cartilage. Along with these steps, modifications to your lifestyle like losing weight or wearing insoles can help.
The next type of treatment is injections into the knee itself. Most commonly these are cortisone or hyaluronic acid injections. These injections are for reducing inflammation, and providing lubrication to the joint (1).
As a last option a doctor may recommend surgical intervention. These surgeries can be full or partial knee replacement, or several operations to try and repair the damaged cartilage (4). These surgeries are only needed in a few cases, where other therapies have failed to relieve or decrease symptoms (5).
Regenerative Treatment Options: Maintain Cartilage with PRP and Bone Marrow Concentrate
Regenexx is regenerative medicine, an area that works to use cells from a patient’s body to encourage the body to heal itself. To treat Osteoarthritis, we use Platelet Rich Plasma (PPR) or Bone marrow Concentrate (BMC).
PRP is an outpatient procedure that extracts and concentrates platelets from a patient’s blood, before injecting them directly into areas around the injury. These platelets contain growth factors that can encourage your body to heal (6). Studies have found that injections of PRP into the cartilage, had improved the outcomes for osteoarthritis, even at 5 years later (7). While PRP treatments are available elsewhere, our treatment is specifically produced in an onsite lab, yielding 20-40% higher platelet concentration (4).
Bone Marrow Concentrate is similar, but instead of using platelets from your blood, it uses stem cells that already exist in your body. Naturally, your body uses these cells to repair damaged tissue. As we age, our body loses the ability to quickly deliver stem cells to joint with cartage loss. The injection of bone marrow concentrate containing the patient’s own live stem cells into the affected joints helps speed the recovery and healing of joints that have lost cartilage.(8).
While these procedures cannot cure osteoarthritis they have been found to decrease pain and increase the function of the joint (9, 10).
See how Regenexx procedures have been effective for our patients. (Regenexx maintains a database of over 10,000 procedure outcomes.)
If you have joint pain and think a procedure using PRP or your own bone marrow concentrate might help, find out if you’re a candidate today –Tap the “TALK TO AN EXPERT” BUTTON below.