Surgeons are starting to take a second look at ways to repair cartilage that were tried and abandoned years ago. Doctors used to resurface the bone by cutting away the top layer down to the blood vessels.
Once the bone started bleeding, blood clots formed and healing would take place. The hope was that new cartilage would form, too. But too many patients ended up with more instead of less pain so the doctors stopped using this procedure.
Turns out they were really on to something and stopped too soon. Removing too much bone was the problem. Drilling and cutting were also counter productive. Shaving or abrading (but not too deep) really did stimulate cartilage repair.
Cartilage repair techniques using abrasion arthroplasty as this method is called may be something that could work for you. Make an appointment with your orthopedic surgeon and find out what your options are.
There are some other newer procedures that are being used with good results for patients like you, too. Ask about using chondroitin-glucosamine (shark cartilage) supplements and hyaluronic acid injections. If you have any cartilage left at all, these treatments may help cartilage heal. You may be a good candidate for one or both of these treatment options.