Chondromalacia Patella Facts You Need to Know

OK, so you've never heard of Chondromalacia Patella either? It's funny that as you get older you start getting all these odd sounding injuries. Believe it or not, Chondromalacia Patella is a fairly common knee injury resulting from wear and tear of the cartilage behind the knee cap (patella). Normally the patella slides over a groove in the thigh bone (femur). As the cartilage degenerates and/or the surrounding muscles weaken, the patella doesn't track correctly and pain results. The term "patellofemoral pain syndrome" refers to early stages of the condition. I can say from personal experience that the pain causes you to walk awkwardly which in turn results in calf, thigh and back muscle pain. knee
How can you tell you have Chondromalacia Patella? If you experience the following symptoms you more than likely have chondromalacia patella:
  • A dull achy pain underneath or around the edges of your kneecap-the pain is made worse by activities that stress the kneecap joint. Examples would be running, squatting, kneeling or keeping the knee bent for long periods of time (ie. car,airplane or movie theater). The killer for me was walking up and down hills on the golf course or using the stairs at home.
  • The knee may grind or you may hear a crunching sound when you squat or go up and down stairs. For those like me with a lot of wear and tear there is a popping or clicking feeling as you bend the knee.
  • The knee becomes stiff and tight after heavy use. You may also notice minor swelling or fluid buildup
  • Pressing down on the knee cap when the knee is straight may be painful.
What causes the problem? As you get older the underlying cartilage begins to degenerate. Often times the cause is related to arthritis of the knee joint which causes the cartilage to lose its normal shock-absorbing ability. Weakness of the muscles of the thigh (quadriceps) may create a muscle imbalance that causes the knee cap to pull more to one side than the other. This creates more stress to the cartilage on one side. The same is true for weakness of muscles around the hip which also indirectly changes the normal tracking operation of the patella.The condition also affects younger athletes. The degeneration of the underlying cartilage is most common for runners, tennis players, soccer players, cyclists, snowboarders and rowers. For some it's simply caused by how the bones of the knee are shaped. This is a genetic condition and not due to athletic overuse or weak muscles. It goes without saying that guys like me that are carrying extra weight need to lose the extra pounds to relieve stress on the knees. A good pair of insoles and shoes will also reduce knee stress.
Treatment Options? Once your orthopedic specialist has diagnosed your condition he will:
  • Get the inflammation under control by recommending rest and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or Aleve. My doctor also recommended using a cold wrap to reduce the inflammation and pain.
  • If the cartilage damage is severe your doctor may recommend 3 to 5 injections of SUPARTZ or similar products made from the natural lubricating fluid found in rooster combs. I have had these injections and they work as advertised.
  • Suggest an exercise program to strengthen the thigh muscles and hip muscles if needed. Most doctors will recommend a physical therapist who will set up a rehabilitation program for you.
  • Because the thigh and calf muscles are often extremely tight from abnormal use caused by the knee pain, flexibility exercises and massage therapy are a critical part of your rehab. My physical therapist kneads my calf and quad muscles with metal bar to smooth out all the adhesions that cause muscle pain.
  • You may need a brace to help you do the exercises and activities with less pain. A soft fabric brace with pads on each side of the patella can help keep it lined up and tracking properly.
The bottom line for prevention is maintaining quad and hip abductor muscle strength, proper warm up and stretching before workouts, keeping your weight in line and wearing quality shoes with cushioning insoles.
About the Author: Bruce is the president of Return2Fitness, an online sports medical resource and product center. His "entrepreneurial spirit" has resulted in the founding or acquisition of 20 companies during his 39 year career. Bruce is not a medical professional so please consult your local specialist before making any changes in the treatment of any injury or condition. Thanks for reading my post! For more information connect with me: Return2FitnessEmailLinkedInFacebookSquidoo  
[caption id="attachment_1971" align="aligncenter" width="125"]GenuTrain A3 Kneebrace helpful for Chondromalacia Patella The GenuTrain A3 kneebrace is a helpful product for Chondromalacia Patella.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1976" align="aligncenter" width="125"]Cold One Knee Wrap The Cold One knee wrap is set up to provide both the cold and the compression needed to reduce swelling.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1974" align="aligncenter" width="125"]SofTec Ultra Insoles A good set of insoles will help with the joints also provide many other health benefits.[/caption]

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  • Hey Bruce thanks for the information. i played football at my local community college for a year and throughout my entire time there i had patellar tendonitis, or at least thats what it was diagnosed as by the team doctor. It has been almost a year and it wont go away, I am joining the Army within the next six months and want to take care of this issue. Is there any way to get this to go away completely and for good so that i can get through basic training? would surgery be necessary and would i still be able to follow through with basic training after recovering from a surgery or treatment of any kind? if anyone would like to help me out please contact me at thankyou.

    Mark on

  • Thankyou Bruce for your help. You have been the most helpful thus far in this problem I have. This gives me a start to know where to go from here. Thanks for all your advise on the phone today. Tricia (fr:Canada)

    Tricia on

  • My aunt had a chrondromalacia patella back in 2007 and it was the first time I heard about it. I, on the other hand, was having problems with my feet, hips, and knees’ joints too and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. My parents sent me to physical therapist, however, it didn’t do any good to my joints… So, my parents took me to my aunt’s orthopedic surgeon, Dr Purita, to have a stem cell therapy too. The therapy made me and my aunt well again. We never had any issues with our knees again….

    kirsten woods on

  • tiguan vw…

    Thanks for the great post, I have linked back to your site here. Thanks for the great article….

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