What is knee chondromalacia?
Chondromalacia is a softening of the cartilage that cushions bones in a joint. The most common site is the underside of the patella, or kneecap. The condition causes the cartilage to shred, crack, or wear down, exposing the bony surface of the kneecap and causing painful grinding. In addition, pieces of cartilage can float inside the kneecap, causing irritation and swelling.
What are common symptoms of chondromalacia?
An aching or dull pain in the front of the knee, behind the knee cap, is a primary symptom of chondromalacia. The pain can increase after long periods of sitting or when climbing or descending stairs. For some people, the condition can make the knee buckle or catch. Others experience a grinding sensation or creaking.
What causes chondromalacia?
This condition has several causes, including:
Who is most often affected?
Knee chondromalacia affects teens and young adults more than other age groups. It is common among those whose sports require frequent knee-bending, especially runners, cyclists, skiers, and soccer players. It also affects workers who spent excessive time kneeling, such as flooring installers.
How can I tell if I have chondromalacia?
Our doctor will perform a thorough examination that might include diagnostic x-rays to rule out other conditions, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and, in some cases, knee arthroscopy to view the joint from the inside.
How is chondromalacia treated?
Nonsurgical treatments are usually the first course of action. These may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication or other pain-relievers, activity modification, ice applications after exercise, physical therapy, and muscle-strengthening exercises.
If these measures fail, or if symptoms are particularly severe, our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic specialists may recommend surgery to address the damaged cartilage.
Don’t take risks with a complex joint like the knee. The doctors at Orthopedic Specialists have deep expertise in treating a wide array of knee conditions. Call today or book an appointment online.