Chondromalacia Patella

Definition

Articular cartilage cushions the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) where they meet in the knee, allowing them to move freely and easily. Chondromalacia patella is a softening or wearing away of the articular cartilage on the undersurface of the patella (kneecap).
Chondromalacia of the Knee
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Causes

Chondromalacia patella is caused by repetitive motion and misalignment of the kneecap.This can occur due to:
  • Birth defect in knee alignment
  • Weak quadriceps
  • Muscle strength imbalance between the inside and outside of the thigh
  • Direct trauma

Risk Factors

Chondromalacia patella is more common in adolescence and young adulthood. Other factors that increase your risk of chondromalacia patella include:
  • Participation in activities like running, skiing, cycling, or soccer that put repeated pressure on the patellofemoral joint
  • Knock-knee abnormality of the leg

Symptoms

Symptoms may include
  • Acute or chronic knee pain that worsens slowly over time
  • A popping or cracking sound as the knee is flexed and extended
  • Increased pain when climbing stairs, squatting, kneeling, or running
  • Pain and stiffness in the knee after it is flexed for a long period of time

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your knee may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

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