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Microfracture Surgery

This page is designed to give you the right information if you have undergone microfracture surgery.

The information has been broken up into stages that match the stages of your recovery and rehabilitation. These pages have been written in line with the protocol used by the James Paget University Hospital. If you have had your surgery elsewhere, please refer to the information provided to you by your hospital.

Microfracture Surgery video


To help you understand more about the operation you are either about to undergo or have recently undergone, please play the video.

What is cartilage?

Cartilage is found in many places around the body but for this page, we are interested in joint cartilage, sometimes known as articular cartilage.

Cartilage is a living protective layer that covers the ends of your bone when it meets another bone i.e. a joint. As well as protecting the underlying bone, it provides lubrication to help the joint move easily.

How might I have injured mine?

Cartilage is strong and very resilient, meaning it is designed to cope with running, jumping and squatting, however, it can be injured. Typically, a trauma that involves taking weight through your leg and twisting can sometimes put your cartilage in a position that it cannot cope and it may become injured.


Why didn’t my cartilage heal itself?

Cartilage, although strong and robust, doesn’t have a blood supply and is not able to heal itself once it is injured.

So, I had microfracture surgery on my knee but what does that mean? 

Microfracturing for cartilage injuries is a relatively new surgical procedure. It is typically completely via keyhole surgery and involves very small holes being drilling into the bone that has been exposed due to the cartilage injury. The aim of the surgery is to make the bone bleed a little to stimulate the body to form a clot. Over time, and with careful rehabilitation, this clot will change and form a structure similar to the surrounding cartilage and hopefully, allow you to feel better and use your knee confidently again.


What should I do to get the best out of my surgery?

Rehabilitation is really key to making sure you make a successful recovery.

We’ve broken down your rehabilitation into phases as you will need to do different things depending on how far after your surgery you are.

Click on the picture below to be taken through to another page dedicated to that phase of your rehabilitation.

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