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Understanding and Managing Chondromalacia Patellae

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Understanding and Managing Chondromalacia Patellae

Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement | Posted on 02/01/2024 by Dr. Lalit Modi



Introduction

Do you experience crunching pain while sitting for extended periods of time or squatting? If you do, then book an appointment with the best orthopedic doctor in Jaipur at CK Birla Hospital, one of the best multispecialties in the city. It is recommended,as these are the symptoms of chondromalacia patellae.It is recommended as these are the symptoms of chondromalacia patellae. It is a condition that happens when an individual's knee begins to soften. However, these days young adults are more likely to experience it, specifically, athletes and older adults can also experience natural wear and tear if they are into performing repetitive knee movements. While it is common, the extent of occurrences differs, with athletes who engage in activities like running, jumping, or squatting being more susceptible. Physical therapy, strengthening exercises, early diagnosis, and right management can effectively relieve symptoms and prevent further deterioration. To ensure better long-term results and timely intervention, it is important to understand the risk factors associated with chondromalacia patellae.

In this blog, we will involve a comprehensive discussion of the condition including its symptoms, causes diagnosis, and treatment options. Please note that the information is research-based and we do not in any way interfere with the doctor’s consultation. 

What is Chondromalacia Patellae?

A common knee condition called chondromalacia patellae occurs because of the softening and degradation of the cartilage under the kneecap causing pain and discomfort. Pain, swelling, and a grinding sensation in the knee joint are an outcome of this degradation, especially when bending or straightening the leg. Chondromalacia patellae doesn’t have a particular cause, although it is often linked to conditions like overuse, muscle imbalances, incorrect patella alignment, or injury. People who are involved in repetitive knee motion activities, like running, jumping, or squatting, are more susceptible. For chondromalacia patellae to be effectively managed, early diagnosis and intervention are integral.

What are Chondromalacia Patellae symptoms?

The intensity and frequency of symptoms can differ depending on personal factors such as activity level and underlying biomechanical problems. Improving knee function and overall quality of life, as well as preventing further complications, depends on early diagnosis and effective symptom management.

Here are the symptoms of chondromalacia patellae:

  • Knee pain, mainly in the area under the kneecap.
  • Increased discomfort when bending the knee and performing an activity, like squatting or climbing stairs.
  • When moving the knee, there is a grinding or grating sensation (crepitus).
  • Inflammation and edema near the kneecap.
  • Stiffness and restricted knee joint range of motion.
  • The sensation of weakness or instability in the knee.
  • Extended sitting or kneeling positions may aggravate pain.
  • Having trouble bending or straightening their knees during activities.

What are Chondromalacia Patellae causes?

For chondromalacia patellae to be effectively managed and recurrences to be prevented, correct biomechanical correction, strengthening exercises, and lifestyle modifications are significant. 

There are various chondromalacia patellae causes, such as:

  • Overuse or repetitive stress injuries to the knee joint are usually noticed in athletes or individuals with jobs in which kneeling and squatting are required. 
  • Imbalances in the muscles encircling the knee, result in abnormal patellar tracking and more cartilage pressure.
  • Weakness or tightness in the hamstrings and quadriceps, two muscles supporting the knee.
  • Trauma or injury to the knee increases the risk of cartilage deterioration.
  • Improper joint surface irregularities or unusual patellar alignment are examples of improper biomechanics.
  • Cartilage aging and normal deterioration over time.
  • Some people are inclined to develop chondromalacia patellae because of genetic factors.
  • Excess weight can put more strain on the knee joint, aggravating symptoms and accelerating cartilage deterioration.

How is Chondromalacia Patellae diagnosed?

The healthcare professional usually also considers the probability of other conditions like meniscal tears or patellar tendinitis having similar symptoms. Several medical specialists, such as radiologists, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, etc. are involved in the diagnosis process to confirm the diagnosis and customized treatment approaches. The diagnosis of chondromalacia patellae contains the following crucial steps:

  • Reviewing medical history: The doctor asks questions about signs and symptoms, activities aggravating the pain, and any prior knee injuries.
  • Physical examination: This includes measuring range of motion, tender spots, and knee alignment.
  • Imaging examinations: While MRI or CT scans provide comprehensive images of the knee structures, including the cartilage and soft tissues, X-rays can assist in ruling out other knee conditions.
  • Arthroscopy: To see inside the knee joint directly and evaluate the cartilage damage, arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure is involved in certain situations.

What are the options for chondromalacia patellae treatment?

Comprehensive care and long-term knee health can be ensured by collaborating with a multidisciplinary healthcare team that includes nutritionists, physical therapists, and orthopedic specialists. Chondromalacia patellae treatment options include:

  • Rest: It will help the knee heal, hence, it is recommended to stay away from activities that make symptoms worse.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises aimed at strengthening the knee's surrounding muscles help to minimize pain and enhance joint stability.
  • Pain management: Corticosteroid injections or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) therapy benefits in reducing pain and inflammation.
  • Biomechanical correction: Braces or orthotics can lessen cartilage stress by adjusting the patellar alignment.
  • Lifestyle changes: Changing one's routine to reduce the strain and impact on one's knee, such as skipping high-impact sports or exercising with the right form.

Conclusion

To sum up, chondromalacia patellae is treated in several ways to reduce symptoms, enhance knee function, and avert recurrence. The primary goal is to maximize knee health and enhance quality of life, regardless of the method used such as rest, physical therapy, pain management, biomechanical correction, or surgery. Patients can accomplish significant relief and regain mobility with the use of a comprehensive approach addressing individual needs as well as underlying factors contributing to the condition. The secret to managing chondromalacia patellae and promoting general knee wellness over the long term is consistency in working with healthcare providers and a commitment to lifestyle changes.

FAQ -

 

Is chondromalacia patella permanent?

Yes, this condition is permanent, however, non-surgical treatments can help in relieving knee pain within a few months. 

Is walking good for chondromalacia patella?

Yes, to treat chondromalacia patella condition walking is identified to be one of the best activities. 

Can chondromalacia patella be cured permanently?

Chondromalacia cannot be cured permanently as it involves cartilage surface breakdown but can be managed with weight loss and low-intensity exercise.