Cartilage injuries in the elbow typically happen gradually with repetitive stress. Sometimes, though, injury to the cartilage occurs after an impact. It's common to feel a locking sensation when bending the elbow back and forth, described by most patients as if there's "something in there not letting the joint move." Tenderness and swelling in the joint are common, too.
Treatment for this type of orthopedic condition is arthroscopic removal of the loose cartilage fragments or cartilage repair. The arthroscope and surgical instruments are small, so the incisions for the surgery are minimal. This allows shorter recovery time and faster return to activities compared to traditional surgical techniques. Surgery outcomes are good to excellent. Physical therapy may be necessary to get range of motion back and to help with post-surgical pain and swelling.