Pain in the knee can be caused by several factors. Chondromalacia is the most common of them. Pain associated with this condition makes it difficult for you to sit for long periods, climb up the stairs or participate in sports. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact a physical therapist at Polygon PT to evaluate your knee, and design a custom exercise program for you. These exercises are targeted at your knee joint to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation without the need for anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery.
What is Chondromalacia Patella?
Chondromalacia Patella is a condition where the cartilage at the back of the kneecap (Patella) becomes damaged (deteriorates and softens). This condition is also referred to as runner’s knee, and it is sometimes used synonymously with patellofemoral syndrome. Patellofemoral syndrome is caused by the back of the kneecap rubbing against the thigh bone. This same process is the cause for chondromalacia, the only difference being that with chondromalacia, the cartilage surrounding the kneecap is damaged.
Causes of Chondromalacia
The rubbing of the back of the kneecap against the thigh bone causes the cartilage covering the kneecap to soften or deteriorate. The reason why this happens is unclear. However, causes have been linked to:
Overuse of the knee in certain sports that require repetitive movement
A trauma or blow to the kneecap
Imbalance in the muscles around the knee
Weak hamstrings and quadriceps
Poor alignment of the knee due to how the knee developed
In older people, a gradual deterioration of the cartilage might cause chondromalacia.
Risk Factors for Chondromalacia?
Several factors might increase your risk of developing chondromalacia. They include:
Age: adolescents and young adults stand at a higher risk of developing runner’s knee.
Sex: females are more likely to develop chondromalacia than males as they possess less muscle mass
Flat feet: when a person has a flat feet, more pressure is placed on the knee joint
Prior injury: if you have injured your knee joint in the past, this can contribute to loss of cartilage
Intense activity levels that place pressure on your knee joint
Runner’s knee can also be a symptom of knee arthritis.
The symptoms of chondromalacia and patellofemoral pain are similar. You will notice pain in the front of your knee, and around the kneecap. You might also experience:
At Polygon PT, a physical therapist will examine your knee, looking out for tenderness in the knee joint. Your therapist may also apply pressure to the kneecap to determine the severity of the pain. You might be required to undergo imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan to rule out other options.
Treatment for Chondromalacia Patella
Your physical therapist will create a treatment plan for you. The goal of the treatment plan is to reduce pressure on the kneecap and the joint. Your PT will develop an exercise program just for you. This may likely include:
It is mindful to note that using just the RICE method, shoe inserts, or taping will only provide temporary relief. These must be combined with a structured exercise program that targets the knee.
You can reduce your risk of developing chondromalacia by doing the following:
Get Started With Physical Therapy for Chondromalacia Patella Today
If you have been experiencing the above symptoms, and home treatments have not been providing relief, it’s time to see a physical therapist. Request an appointment with one of our therapists right away to relieve your pain, and get back to your normal activities.