Chondromalacia Patella: Diagnosis And Treatment


Chondromalacia patella refers to the breakdown or deterioration of the cartilage located under your patella, also called the kneecap. It is often caused by overuse and playing sports, however, obesity can also raise your risk. Also called "runner's knee," chondromalacia patella can cause knee pain, inflammation and tenderness of the knee, and a grinding sensation in your knee. Here are some sports medicine interventions for diagnosing and treating chondromalacia patella. 

Diagnosing Chondromalacia Patella

Your sports medicine physician will perform a thorough physical examination to evaluate your knee for swelling and deformities. They will also move the affected leg into various positions so that your range of motion can be evaluated. Your doctor may also ask you to walk and stoop over to determine if you have any gait or balance problems, and they will also ask you to describe your symptoms. 

Chondromalacia patella can cause increased knee pain when rising from a seated position, climbing and going down the stairs, and when kneeling down. In addition to your physical examination, your sports medicine physician will also recommend imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and x-rays. An MRI can evaluate the soft tissues of your knee, while regular x-rays are typically only effective in revealing bone abnormalities. Blood tests may also be included in your chondromalacia patella workup to check for certain inflammation markers.

Treatment For Chondromalacia Patella

Treatment options for chondromalacia patella include taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, also known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If over-the-counter strength NSAIDs are ineffective in treating your inflammation and pain, your sports medicine physician may recommend prescription-strength NSAIDs. Supportive orthopedic devices such as knee braces and compression wrap devices can also help minimize your knee pain and improve your mobility.

Another effective intervention for chondromalacia patella is physical therapy. It can help relax the tight muscles around your kneecap and strengthen the surrounding structures of the knee. If conservative methods of treating your chondromalacia patella do not result in symptomatic relief, your physician may recommend surgery to help reposition the knee. It is important to note, that if you are obese, losing weight may substantially enhance the pain relief benefits of the aforementioned treatment options. 

If you have any of the above symptoms of chondromalacia patella, make an appointment with a sports medicine physician. Once your condition has been diagnosed and treated, you may be able to resume your normal activities without limitations and pain. 


29 December 2022

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