The joints in our body are important for our motion, daily functioning, and long-term well-being. However, accidents can happen at any age that compromise our motion.
Chondral ulcers are just one of the many types of conditions that affect joints and can range in severity and lead to rather severe complications if left unchecked.
Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Henry Chan took DoctorxDentist readers through the causes, treatments, and surgical procedures for chondral ulcers in Singapore.
Here's what he had to say.
What is a chondral ulcer?
"Chondral" means cartilage. Meant to absorb shock and let the knee joint glide smoothly without any pain, articular cartilage in the knee are important in smooth limb function and movements.
Chondral ulcers are caused by impact to the knee or an overly strong twisting motion on the knee.
A chondral ulcer means that there is a "hole" in your cartilage which results in "clicking" sensations, swelling, and pain in the affected joint. 
Chondral ulcers are challenging to deal with
In the past, there were limited treatment options. Doctors had to resort to glucosamine or lubricant injections (hyaluronic acid). However, these treatment options produced poor results that did not really solve the problem. 
It is still a challenge today to manage a chondral ulcer.
Today, we have more effective treatment
If the chondral ulcer is not severe, then a technique called "microfracture" can be performed. This process creates tiny holes in the bone, releasing stem cells that repair the cartilage.
This is supplemented with cartilage scaffold injections to improve effective recovery. 
Bigger ulcers may require bone marrow stem cells
Recently, plenty of breakthroughs have been made in the treatment of chondral ulcers, one of which is stem cell treatment. If an ulcer is larger than expected or if there are multiple ulcers, doctors may need to use bone marrow stem cells to increase the success rate.
During Bone Marrow Aspirate Stem Cell Concentrate (BMAC) surgery, surgeons apply small injections to the pelvis to extract stem cells, adding the cells in turn to the cartilage repair site. 
These procedures are performed as keyhole surgeries
Dr Chan explains that the repair techniques mentioned above are grouped under Mesenchumal cell-induced chondrogenesis (MCIC), and are conducted as keyhole surgeries that aim to be minimally invasive.
If you undergo any of the procedures described above, you may opt for a day surgery procedure or choose to spend one day resting in hospital after surgery. 
The advancement of medical science has helped contribute to a safer and more promising future for sufferers of chondral ulcers.
With that being said, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible and get a thorough assessment from your medical doctor before trying any treatment for knee pain.
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