Chondromalacia Patellae is a condition where the cartilage is damaged behind the patella (knee cap). The patellae serve to protect the knee and to increase the efficiency of the quadriceps muscle group at the front of the thigh. This condition can vary markedly in severity. Its exact cause is unknown. It is more likely to occur in young women and may be linked to the following factors. 1. Overuse of the knee in specific sports resulting in constant micro-trauma to the cartilaginous surface. 2 anatomical anomalies leading to poor patella alignment. 3 a quadriceps muscle imbalance resulting in poor patella tracking.
Symptoms include a grating or grinding of the knee cap called crepitus. The pain will be localised to the front of the knee and will typically be precipitated by steps or a prolonged period of sitting with the knee bent. The knee may be swollen or effused.
Non-pharmaceutical treatment options include:
- Avoidance or modification of aggravating activities.
- Physiotherapyand exercises to address the quadriceps imbalance.
- Strategic taping to improve patella alignment and tracking. A biomechanical assessment of the lower limb in order to identify potential causes up and down the chain.
The prognosis for this condition is generally considered good. With no links to arthritis later in life. It is advisable to follow the advice of your treating health professional at all times.