How do I Treat Cartilage Pain?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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The treatment used for cartilage pain may depend on the location of the cartilage and how it has been injured. Typically, however, a person can treat cartilage pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. Other treatment methods include techniques to care for the injured part of the body to reduce swelling, which also helps to relieve pain. For individuals with serious cartilage injuries, surgery may be required to put a permanent stop to the pain.

Cartilage is found in parts of the body that need shock absorption, such as between bones. In this role, it protects the bones and joints from jarring movements. Cartilage has a compressible quality, which allows it to absorb and withstand force that could possibly shatter bone if the same force were applied to it. There are also other types of cartilage that provide structure for parts of the body, such as the earlobes.

Sometimes cartilage is torn. Such an injury can be very painful, and many people treat it with over-the-counter medications. Among those typically used to treat cartilage pain are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Drugs in this category include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. These medications not only help treat cartilage pain that develops because of an injury, but they also help reduce inflammation that contributes to pain.


Besides medications, a person may also apply ice to the affected area. This helps reduce swelling and treat cartilage pain. Resting the affected area and keeping it elevated may prove helpful as well. For example, if a person has torn cartilage in his knee, he may rest with it elevated above his heart level.

In some cases, treating cartilage injuries at home may be enough, and eventually the pain may subside. Some people may require surgery to repair the injured cartilage, however. The surgical procedure used to repair cartilage may vary, depending on where the injury is located and the extent of the damage. Surgeons may shave jagged cartilage down or sew it back together. In some cases, they may even remove a badly damaged portion of cartilage and replace it with donor cartilage.

A person may also experience pain when cartilage in his body becomes inflamed. For example, cartilage found between the rib and breastbone could become inflamed after an injury, infection, or even strain from sneezing and coughing. Such cartilage pain is often treated with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Muscle relaxers may be used as well.


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Post 7

I've never really thought about how many areas on the body have cartilage. But if you think about it, it's a lot! We have cartilage around our joint, between our ribs, in our ears and our nose! Knowledge about how to treat cartilage pain is good info to have!

I also wanted to say that I think it's great to be able to treat cartilage pain at home. But if the pain gets really bad, or the pain relievers and ice aren't working, you should go to the doctor!

Post 6

@Monika - Piercings in any area can be a little sore for a few days afterwards. I got my navel pierced quite awhile ago, and I remember it being pretty sore.

Although, it was nothing compared to when I inflamed my cartilage when I had bronchitis. My ribs were in serious pain, and I totally thought something really bad was wrong. When I went back to the doctor he told me I had inflamed my cartilage from all the coughing and sneezing.

He told me to put ice on it and take some pain relievers. The ice made me feel a lot better, but I didn't really enjoy the actual icing part. It feels so much nicer to put heat on injuries!

Post 5

The last time I had cartilage pain was when I got my ear pierced. I decided to get a cartilage piercing. You know, at the top of the ear instead of the fleshy part at the bottom. I think they look really cool, and not as common as the other kind of ear piercing. It's nice to be original sometimes.

Anyway, my cartilage was sore for a few days afterwards. I mostly just took ibuprofen and made sure to clean it. I imagine an infection in that area would feel even worse!

Post 4

If you have a torn or stretched ligament or bones rubbing against each other, riding a stationary bicycle helps to strengthen the muscles around the knees to better support the knee joint. The best kind of stationary bike to use is the recumbent. This kind of bike has a back rest for comfort and the pedals are out in front for the two motions of the knee.

I have one of these and do my one-half hour while watching a program on TV. Soon the time is over and I'm finished. If you have serious knee inflammation and pain, this type of bike is much better because your knee can become unstable when going over rough terrain with a regular bike.

Post 3

I don't have cartilage pain from an injury. My cartilage has not been torn or pulled apart. I have pain in my knee from a wearing down of cartilage between the two bones at the knee joint. It''s called osteoarthritis.

Probably some of my pain comes from the ragged cartilage and some comes from the bones rubbing against each other when I walk.

I treat my arthritis about the same way as people treat their injured cartilage. I ice my knees just about every day, take ibuprofen, and also do exercises, especially walking, to keep the pain in check.

Post 2

@backdraft - I know where you're coming from and for a long time I thought there was no relief from my pain. But then at the suggestion of a friend I visited an acupuncturist. I had always been skeptical to that kind of stuff but it got to a point where I was willing to try anything to get some relief.

To my great surprise it worked. I went for 10 treatments and felt small improvements after every one. By the time I went to my last appointment my pain was nearly gone. I can't claim to be completely cured but I have so much less pain than I used to. And now I am a convert. Acupuncture is for real. Open your mind and give it a chance.

Post 1

I have had cartilage pain in and around my knees for a number of years now. I feel like I've tried just about every remedy under the sun and never had much success. At this point I have resigned myself to just using ice. It is the cheapest method and at this point the easiest and most effective.

I have pleaded with my doctor but he tells me that for some cartilage pain there is really no great remedy. There are treatments that will work temporarily but none is a permanent solution and many of the medications come with unpleasant side effects. I guess its just something I will have to live with.

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