Chondromalacia

Treating Knee Pain - The Knee Joint

Chondromalacia is a common cause of kneecap pain or anterior knee pain. Often called "Runner's Knee," this condition often affects young, otherwise healthy athletes. Women are more commonly affected by Chondromalacia.

Causes

Chondromalacia is due to an irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap. The undersurface of the patella, is covered with a layer of smooth cartilage. This cartilage normally glides effortlessly across the knee during bending of the joint. However, in some individuals, the kneecap tends to rub against one side of the knee joint, and the cartilage surface become irritated, and knee pain is the result.

Treatment Options

  • Rest - stop all activities that give rise to the pain.
  • Start a physical therapy program designed to strengthen the muscles of the hips and thighs.
  • Medications such as cortico-steroid injections and NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatories) may be of use in the short term
  • Vibration therapy (Kneease) for long term pain relief.

If the above treatment options do not result in a successful treatment for the condition it may be necessary to consider surgery. This is usually the case in around 10% of sufferers.

A surgeon can assess the damage done to the cartilage by looking at the knee through an arthroscope. They can also assess the mechanics of the joint to see if there is any missalignment. The surgeon may then consider a procedure called a 'lateral release', which involves cutting the lateral ligaments to allow the knee to track normally.

Read more about Chondromalacia

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