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What is Chondromalacia patella?

What is Chondromalacia patella?


Chondromalacia patella is a condition that refers to the deterioration and softening of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap (patella). The kneecap is naturally positioned over a groove in the thigh bone (femur). Many factors can affect the alignment of the patella. If the patella is misaligned, it can cause the kneecap to rub against your bones and cause deterioration of the joint. This condition is more commonly found in young individuals who take part in sports activities such as skiing, football, weight lifting and running.


What are the causes and symptoms of chondromalacia patella?

The potential causes of chondromalacia patella include a tight lateral knee structure such as ITB, poor alignment due to a previous injury, muscle imbalance of the thigh muscles, changing in training schedule and repeated stress to the knee joints.

Pain and discomfort will typically present itself in the front of the knee when aggravated by a particular activity or by prolonged sitting. Some individuals may also experience a grating or grinding feeling when the knee is moved due to the kneecap rubbing against the femur. Swelling can also occur if there is an increase in fluid levels surrounding the knee joint.

Your chartered physiotherapist may evaluate your symptoms by reviewing the previous history of the kneecap discomfort and doing an evaluation of the hips, ankles, and leg musculature. In certain cases an MRI may be helpful to rule out other conditions, but in general this is not necessary.


How is chondromalacia patella treated?

The prognosis of those suffering with this condition is very good. With the right treatment, chondromalacia pain can be accurately targeted in order to help individuals manage pain relief and build up strength in the affected area. As a general rule, relative rest from activities that aggravate the condition is required until the discomfort stops.

Physiotherapy can be very beneficial in treating chondromalacia patella and correcting the balance of the muscles surrounding the knee area. This will ease any stress being placed on the knee. Strengthening exercises can be used in order to allow the kneecap to align itself naturally in the groove of the knee joint. Your physiotherapist can also advise you on exercises. Deep tissue massage may be helpful in order to stretch the muscles on the outside of the knee.

Another technique, which may be used, is patella taping. This involves taping the kneecap in order to reduce pain and allow muscle-strengthening exercises to be done. This can give patients an instant effect in pain relief. Your chartered physiotherapist can carry out taping so that you can do daily activities more easily.

If you are having any issues with chondromalacia patella pain, we here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic can advise you in pain relieving techniques and exercises. Contact us here for more information.

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