Chondromalacia patella refers to knee pain that occurs when the articular cartilage at the underside of the kneecap or patella undergoes degeneration, also called softening. It is one of the most commonly occurring medical conditions or anterior knee pain. The softening of the cartilage may eventually lead to fissuring, fibrillation, and erosion. The pain usually occurs when the knee and the femur bone rub against each other.
The condition often results from sports injuries, so taking a break between practices can help. Teenagers, women, and young adults engaging in sports or activities that cause overexertion of the knee can develop pain. Besides, overweight people and older adults with arthritis are more prone to this condition.
Chondromalacia patella refers to knee pain that occurs when the articular cartilage at the underside of the kneecap or patella undergoes degeneration, also called softening.
The primary symptom is a pain in the knee region. People with this condition may feel the sensation of grinding or cracking when extending or bending the knee. The pain usually worsens when sitting for long durations or engaging in activities that put a lot of stress on the knee. The other symptoms are:
The condition demonstrates initial changes in the cartilage on the underside of the patella. If the early signs are ignored, the condition may lead to osteoarthritis of the knee joint where the femur and the knee joint meet.
Chondromalacia patella may occur due to unexplained reasons. Usually, inappropriate tracking of the patella when it slides over the femur bone can cause it. This misalignment causes the cartilage under the knee cap to degenerate, resulting in localized knee pain. The abnormal movement of the kneecap may result from:
Weakness or tightness of the knee muscles or overexertion of the knee may damage the patella and cause knee pain.
Physical therapy is one of the best treatment procedures for people living with chondromalacia. Scheduling a visit to the physiotherapist’s clinic is essential when dull and nagging pain is experienced during running, jumping, climbing the stairs, or moving down the hill. The therapy aims to rectify the misalignment and strengthen the weaker muscles supporting the knee. It also reduces pain and stretches the tight muscles to restore normal activities. The exercises for this condition are:
The primary purpose of physiotherapy is strengthening the quadriceps muscle, allowing the knee cap to track into the channel of the knee joint. Besides, strengthening of the hip abductor muscles, such as Gluteus Medius, is beneficial. The correction of biomedical abnormalities is essential to prevent any injury from returning. Exercises that stretch the outer part of the knee also helps. A professional and licensed physical therapist must offer advice to people with this condition.
The risks may occur in the following people:
The softening of the articular cartilage at the underside of the knee may eventually cause fissuring, erosion, and fibrillation. Those with a previous injury on the knee cap and engaging in high activity levels put pressure on the knee and cause pain.
The symptoms of pain can be prevented by avoiding stressful exercises, such as running and jumping. Long-term prevention includes strengthening the inner part of the quadriceps muscle to aid the tracking of the patella. The recommendations of prevention are.
The treatment for this condition usually includes the following:
Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the quadriceps, adductors, hamstrings, and abductors to improve muscle strength and balance. Muscle balance also prevents misalignment of the knees. Isometric exercises and swimming or riding a stationary bike release the muscles and maintain muscle mass.
In many patients, arthroscopic surgery examines the joints to figure out the misalignment of the knee. The other surgical options are implanting the cartilage graft, repositioning in the insertion of the thigh muscle, and smoothing the backside of the kneecap.
Chondromalacia causes the knee joint to move past a specific point. Besides, the knee may give out suddenly and these symptoms occur due to repeated bending of the knees.