Chondromalacia patella syndrome is the weakening and softening of the cartilage found in the underside of kneecap or patella. It can be caused by the improper alignment of the kneecap with the bone of the thigh. Knee pain due to irritation of the degenerated cartilage is called patellofemoral syndrome. Women are more susceptible to chondromalacia patella syndrome.
Causes of chondromalacia patella syndrome
- Muscle imbalance which can be fixed with the right exercises.
- Poor alignment of the kneecap where the patella is either too high or too low.
- Overusing of the leg such as jumping, running and twisting
- Improper tracking of the kneecap or patella as it slides over the thigh bone or femur and result to degeneration of the cartilage under the kneecap and cause pain.
- Abnormal patellar tracking toward the outer or lateral side of the femur
- Females who are knock-kneed or flat-footed and deformities of the patellar undersurface are susceptible to chondromalacia patellar syndrome.
- Severe knee pain
- Severe pain when going downstairs
- A grating or grinding sensation with leg movement
- Tenderness of the kneecap
- Unclear discomfort of the inner area of the knee due to jumping, running, descending stairs and climbing
- Long periods of sitting with the knees slightly bent
- Tightness or fullness of the knee area especially when the knee is swollen
- Loss of quadriceps or thigh muscle strength and bulk and the legs becomes weak
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected area for fast healing of the condition.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected area for at least 10-15 minutes to lessen the pain and inflammation. Avoid applying the pack directly on the skin for more than 5 minutes to prevent further damage.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter medication to lessen the pain and inflammation.
- Apply heat on the affected area using a heating pad at the lowest setting at least 10-20 minutes at a time to lessen the stiffness. Another alternative is to use a soft terry cloth face towel and soaked in warm tap water.
- Wear a knee brace on the affected area to prevent unnecessary movement and keep the joint stable and secure.
- Seek the help of a physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises to restore range of motion in the affected knee and strengthening exercises and lessen the symptoms.
- Minimize running and opt for gentle exercises such as cycling or swimming. If there is a need to run, wear the proper shoes that are well-cushioned and avoid running on hard surfaces such as concrete.
- Maintain balance of the muscles by strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors and adductors.
- Avoid repeated stress on the kneecap by wearing kneepads to prevent further injury.
The details posted on this page on chondromalacia patella syndrome is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage knee joint conditions, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.