Many UK patients visiting Dr Federico Usuelli’s leading orthopaedic clinic, often ask how they can best improve their damaged ankle cartilage. This is a crucial question, because knowing the reasons why we experience cartilage loss can really help us try and reduce the risks of losing more cartilage in later life. This article addresses the top five causes of ankle cartilage damage:

  1. Excess Body Fat
    It comes as no great surprise that a person carrying excess body weight will often put more strain on their cartilage. With this in mind, try and ensure that you are eating a balanced diet and that you are also regularly exercising to help burn body fat and calories. The less excess weight you carry, the better it is for your ankle cartilage.
  2. Trauma
    Many UK patients who injure their cartilage in an abrupt traumatic episode, can open up a frail area within the cartilage. If this happens, then your ankle cartilage can be more vulnerable to future injuries should you ever experience additional trauma. If you have already injured your ankle cartilage in a previous incident, then ensure you best protect the weakened area with an ankle support, when undergoing strenuous activity.
  3. Ankle Joint Volatility
    Our ankle ligaments help secure our ankle joints in place. If our ankle joints become insecure this usually points to our ligaments being injured, which often results in our ankle joints becoming unstable. If this happens to you, then the initial symptoms you need to look out for include tenderness or inflammation of the ankle cartilage area, or in extreme cases, you may hear a popping sound as you move.
  4. Diet
    Our diets are crucial for our health. Our bodies need nutrients in order to properly function. Recent nutritional studies have shown that individuals consuming certain foods can sometimes help protect their cartilage. In particular, Vitamin C has been documented to help protect a person’s ankle cartilage. Vitamin E can also be shown to help safeguard our ankle cartilage from early cell loss.
  5. Continuous Trauma
    Many UK patients who have had ankle joint surgery regarding cartilage loss have reported that physical activities such as running can weaken their cartilage. However, reasonable physical exercise such as light jogging can in fact safeguard our ankle cartilage.

Osteochondral or cartilage lesions

UK patients who have sustained trauma to their ankle cartilage have been diagnosed with osteochondral or cartilage lesions, which is one of the most common diseases.


UK patients suffering with this condition, have experienced ankle discomfort and inflammation.


At Dr Federico Usuelli’s foot and ankle clinic, whenever we diagnose a UK patient with an osteochondral lesion, the following path of action is advised:

  • A biological analysis of the lesion by MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), to conclude the severity of bone oedema.
  • A CT scan, to help further recognise the full extent of the condition if anything is missed by the MRI scan.
  • A high-level X-ray to analyse the biomechanics associated with the lesion.


Dr Federico Usuelli is leading the way forward in cartilage lesion therapies that help encourage microcirculation and bone metabolism, triggering a positive healing response. Today, Dr Federico recommends the magnetic therapy and Tecar therapy. Tecar therapy presents a dramatic advancement in rehabilitation.


At Dr Usuelli’s world distinguished foot and ankle clinic, we have effectively treated many UK people suffering with ankle cartilage issues.