What is Chondromalacia? It is a condition where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella (kneecap) deteriorates and softens.
The patient population: It is more common among adolescences and young adults, people who participate in activities such as running, skiing, cycling and soccer which puts repeated pressure on the patellofemoral joint. It also common among people with knocked knee or genu valgum.
Symptoms include: Dull/achy pain in front of the knee, tenderness, swelling or edema, crepitus or cracking when the knee is straightened out, pain with functional tasks such as negotiating stairs and sit to stand.
The cartilage under the patella can be injured because of direct trauma to the knee, overuse, or malalignment of the patella because of muscle imbalance or postural/anatomical abnormalities.
There are conservative treatment options such as rest, PHYSICAL THERAPY, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. When conservative treatment options fail, Chondroplasty which is removal of the damaged cartilage and Lateral Release which involves cutting some of the ligaments to release tension and allow for more movement are done.
Treatment options for Physical Therapy include rest, postural/ functional training, range of motion exercises, stretching, strengthening and stabilization, manual therapy, modalities, and patella taping.
Exercises can include hamstring stretching on wall, quads stretch, heel slides, side lying hip abduction, standing calf stretch, quads set, straight leg raise and wall squats with ball.
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