Diet & Cartilage


This section provides the fundamental concepts of nutrition and it’s implications for your joint cartilage.  Nutrition is an important component of joint health and a key part of the program at the Virginia Cartilage Center

As part of our program, we encourage patients to participate in individual or group nutritional counselling. It is our intention to optimize the reparative environment of the knee while minimizing the destructive forces. Important aspects of this concept include caloric management, sound dietary principles, controlled exercise, nutritional supplementation, and dietary control of joint inflammation, all of which play a significant role in joint reparation and destruction.

The body of research regarding prevention and symptomatic reduction of cartilage wear through nutritional strategies is in its infancy; however, definite correlations have been made that warrant adherence to basic scientific principles. (1) As part of the Richmond Cartilage Project, we are collecting data to expand the guidelines and recommendations for cartilage nutrition.
Successful nutritional strategies are rarely directed at a single body part, like a joint. A link between traditional medical care, specialist care and holistic care of joint damage requires treating the body as a whole rather than a specific joint or body part. In addition to the cartilage and the internal milleu of the joint, one must consider the bones, muscles, ligaments, vessels and nerves.  Cardiopulmonary conditioning, metabolic and immunologic function and neuromuscular temporal mechanisms must be considered as well, all of which have roles in joint metabolism.

By looking at a model of factors that impact our joint health, we can identify ways to create symptomatic reduction of joint pain and wear.  These factors can act alone or synergistically to create a positive or detrimental impact on the joint and other body systems.  The objective is to address those aspects of treatment you can control through lifestyle modification.  

Despite the volumes of dietary information available, the concepts are quite simple;

  • control weight;  calories burned > calories consumed
  • consume high quality nutritional sources
  • supplement where necessary
  • be fit
  • get regular check ups

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