Microfracture is a surgical procedure where a tiny 'pick' is used to spike holes through damaged joint cartilage into the bone below.


How does microfracture work?

Microfracture allows migration of marrow cells into the resultant clot, and facilitate new cartilage formation. The technique was first proposed by Dr Richard (Dick) Steadman, and is one of a group of procedures now referred to as 'marrow stimulation techniques'.

The rounded end of the femur, where the joint cartilage has worn away to show the yellowish bone. You can see the pick holes of microfracture piercing through the base plate of the cartilage.    

A simple flowchart with links to show the possible interventions in cases of knee arthritis.

Surgical cartilage repair for knee osteoarthritis

An overview of the various options available for surgical cartilage repair of the knee.

Articular cartilage repair

A short but sound overview of the issue of damage to the joint cartilage, and what can be done about it.



Second Generation Needling Techniques for the Treatment of Chondral Defects in Animal Model. Zedde P, Cudoni S, Manunta L, Passino ES, Masala G, Brunetti A, Uboldi FM and Manunta AF. Joints. 2017 Mar; 5(1): 27–33.

See also:

Knee arthritis interventions when you are too young for a total knee replacement - ebook