Damage to the extracellular matrix (ECM) of articular cartilage is detrimental to its functional load-bearing properties. Cartilage ECM can be damaged chemically by enzymatic cleavage or mechanically either due to impact loads or long term fatigue loads at physiological levels. There is strong evidence that chronic long term loads in conjunction with chemical weakening can lead to osteoarthritic degeneration of cartilage [1, 2].

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