Chondral Injury to the Hip Joint

Chondral injury means damage to the smooth lining or hyaline cartilage of the hip joint and can occur on the femoral head side, or more commonly on the socket side.

chondral injury to the hip joint

This problem can occur as a result of trauma or as a result of various hip disorders. These disorders include labral tears, loose bodies, hip instability, hip dysplasia and degenerative joint disease.

Another common injury pattern is the cartilage defects, which occur in the presence of hip impingement. The abnormally shaped femoral head wears away the lining of the joint in cam type impingement.

Hip arthroscopy shows diseased area of hyaline cartilage in the hip socket with microfracture tool ready to be used

Treatment of chondral injury

Contained chondral defects can be treated via hip arthroscopy. The technique used is termed microfracture and involves identifying the lesion and using a tool to make small holes in the underlying bone. This will then form a marrow clot over the diseased area and with time this will fill with scar tissue known as fibrocartilage. This is not as good as the normal hyaline cartilage, but is generally associated with significant improvement in pain.

It is important for the patient to remain partial weight-bearing with crutches on the operated hip for 4-6 weeks. Physiotherapy to maintain movement and avoid stiffness during this time is also important.