Chondromalacia is a repetitive stress injury that is the result of softening and eventual breakdown of the cartilage tissue directly under your kneecap (patella). This causes the underside of the kneecap to come into direct contact with the thighbone. The result of this “bone on bone” contact is the pain of chondromalacia patella, which is the full name of the condition. You may feel the pain on either side of your kneecap or even below the kneecap as well as under it. The info-graph above shows both a side view and frontal views of the knee. The drawing on the left side of the info-graph shows the side view. It also shows the space between the patella and the thigh bone where chondromalacia develops.
You are more at risk of developing chondromalacia if you are overweight or have dislocated or fractured your kneecap (patella). Physically active individuals (e.g. soccer players or cyclists) are more likely to experience this condition.
You will likely experience the pain of chondromalacia when doing the following:
bending your knee;
going down a flight of stairs;
standing up after you have been sitting for a while.
To confirm that you have chondromalacia, your doctor will likely perform a medical examination. If the diagnosis is still unclear, he or she may request blood tests and even a medical imaging test such as an X-Ray or MRI.
Treatment Of Chondromalacia Patella
As with most repetitive stress injuries, the primary treatment for chondromalacia is rest. In addition, you will likely be able to get some relief from the pain by placing an ice pack on it 4-5 times daily for period of around 15-20 minutes each. An orthopedic brace can help take the pressure off your kneecap and speed up the healing process.
Other pain relief treatments include using prescription analgesics or NSAIDs. However, these may have undesirable side effects, so we suggest using them only if the other approaches prove unsuccessful.
How Does Chondromalacia Compare With Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?
The two conditions are actually very similar. However, the difference between the two is that with patellofemoral pain syndrome, there is no breakdown of cartilage under the kneecap.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Hg80 Hinged Knee Brace is made of extremely comfortable fabric with maximum medial-lateral support to help protect weak or injured knees. Mueller-exclusive HydraCinn® fabric, Triaxial Hinges, tibial containment system, inner anti-slip strips, flatlock seams, form-fitting hourglass design, fully adjustable and comfortable fit.
The Mueller Sports Medicine Jumper’s Knee Strap boasts a tube shaped insert that helps to improve patellar tracking. The insert also provides concentrated mild pressure on your patellar tendon just below your kneecap. The Jumper’s Knee Strap will relieve pain that may result from frequent and intense running and jumping. The Knee Strap comes in…
The LP Knee Stabilizer offers uniform compression to injured knees during the rehabilitation process. The Knee Stabilizer also has lateral and medial stays that offer additional stability and support. In addition to these stays, the Stabilizer also has two hook and loop straps to facilitate adjustable compression if and when you need this. An additional…
The McDavid Knee Support With Stays features padded buttress to support the patella, spring steel stays to provide reinforced support and elastic hook and loop straps to ensure an outstanding fit. There is an exterior layer of nylon fabric for durability.
The McDavid Knee Support With Stays & Cross Straps has reinforced spring steel stays to offer superior medial-lateral stability and confidence. It also includes elastic cross straps for enhanced compression and for collateral ligament support. The padded open buttress offers 360˚ support of the patella.
The Bio Skin Q Lok ROM supports rehabilitation of the patellofemoral joint while helping to prevent subluxation and further dislocation during normal activities. A specially designed dynamic patella traction strap make this brace an ideal choice for patients suffering from a high Q angle or from chronic pain from patella tilt, glide and malignment. In addition, its thin, ½ inch range-of-motion hinge allows you to progressively adjust the degree of flexion and extension of the knee.