Sorry to hear that you have had multiple knee injuries from sports throughout your life. This is a very good question, and I will answer it to the best of my ability, but to get a more accurate answer you should probably make an appointment to be evaluated by a sports medicine specialist
, or an orthopedic surgeon
who will have access to your medical records to see exactly what kind of injuries you have had, and exactly what has been done about them in the past. Unfortunately sine I am not privy to that information, my recommendations are going to be rather general. Cartilage is what lines the articular surfaces of your joints. In this case it lines the knee joint which is comprised of the femur, tibia, and fibula. There are 2 different types of cartilage; fibrous and hyaline. Fibrous cartilage is thick and dense, and usually contributes to making a joint capsule (in the knee the meniscus is made up of fibrous cartilage). Hyaline cartilage is the thin, smooth cartilage that actually lines the articular surfaces within the knee joint. Without this cartilage, the bones that make up the joint would rub directly on each other and would grind away, ultimately leading to a compromised, unstable joint. And yes, this would be very painful. To get your best answer, I would recommend seeing a physician to get a thorough exam. Best of luck.