The 29-year-old, who joined Exeter in 2008, made his decision following consultations with a number of leading surgeons and specialists.
He has made 71 appearances for the Aviva Premiership club.
"Obviously, I am very disappointed to have been forced to retire, but rugby now is so physical and you can't really risk an injury like this," he said.
"I've spoken to specialists and surgeons up and down the country, and the advice is I have to retire immediately.
"Right now I feel a little frustrated because I would have liked to have played a bit more rugby than I have done.
"Had it not been for this injury, I felt I had a few more years still left in me, but talking to the medical people this is not something I can take a risk with."