No Cartilage… No Problem!

By Coach E

It’s been nice to get a little break from the frigid cold and piles of powdery snow, but the snow is pretty fun when you dress properly as I’ve discovered playing around in it with my daughter Livia. We built a sweet tunnel in the front and we’ve been finding random hills to go sledding down.

Last week we were playing in the snow with one of her classmates after school and I took a little break to talk with the boy’s mom.

She asked me what I did and I told her how I help active people get back to and keep doing what they love to do.

“Oh really? Well, my mom was recently told by her doctor that she was a candidate for a double knee replacement,” she shared.

It sounded funny to me, like her mom had won the lottery or something.

I asked her why they said she was a candidate and she told me it was because she has no cartilage left in her knees.

She then said something very interesting…

“But she doesn’t have any symptoms.”

Knee cartilage is the connective tissue that covers bone. If you eat chicken, it’s the white kind of shiny substance at the bottom of a drumstick.

It helps the bones glide smoothly in the joint during movement.

When it’s damaged, movement can be painful.

However, in the case of this lady, there was zero pain.

How could she have no cartilage and no pain?

Before we get to that, I want to say that this is why it’s a good idea to question the advice you get – whether from your doctor, physio, chiro and me for that matter because it’s all based on that particular individual’s biases and the biases of their profession.

I’m always going to lean toward exercise and movement as therapy, especially as the first thing to try since surgery is typically scheduled in the future so you might as well give it a shot in the meantime. I’m not dogmatic though and do see the value in other treatments – the body is complex and decisions for surgery or anything else must be taken on a case-by-case basis.

But we gotta move, so we might as well do movements that will make us move better, right?

Back to the question – no cartilage would mean that there’s exposed bone and this would generally be a problem.

However, if the muscles of the joint have good control and are strong enough to meet the demands of that person’s life, then pain-free movement is possible.

Pain and inflammation occur when tissues are pinched or strained, bone smashes into bone, or compensations create overuse of certain muscles or excessive stress on non-muscular tissues.

But with sufficient control, strength, mobility and body awareness, it’s possible to move and keep moving despite tissue degeneration like cartilage loss.

I asked a little more and found out that the lady had a background in dance which outside of the artistic aspect, is all about mobility, control and strength – exactly what I’m teaching you for movement longevity. And she’s still active and not just that, but she loves learning and trying new types of exercise and physical activities.

So the methods you’re learning here + your eagerness to continue learning and applying = a lifetime of pain-free movement and mobility.

If you haven’t yet, check out the store here and get started on the program you’re interested in today – the sooner you get going, the better.

Coach E

P.S. Speaking of dancers, here’s what Natasha, a dance teacher, has to say about her results following the TFL Pain Solution:

“Phase two has gone really well. For example:

On Tuesday I taught two dance classes in the morning then joined my neighbor for a 2-hour line dance class in the evening. In the past I would have been in a lot of pain in the TFL area, a dull nagging pain that I would have either iced, heated or taken an anti-inflammatory as a consequence. I felt nothing on Tuesday evening, my right hip felt relaxed and pain-free.

I sometimes notice a niggle, generally when I am carrying heavy bags, but I do a combination of phase 1 or phase 2 exercises that now keep my hips in good health with no tightness and very little pain.

I cannot thank you enough as I am now able to move as I used to and I also, very importantly, now understand what the problem is and how I can keep on top of it.

Best wishes,


If you’ve got problems with your tensor fasciae latae (TFL), it’s a signal that it’s overworking for other muscles that aren’t functioning correctly so address the root cause with the TFL Pain Solution program here.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.