WHAT IS IT? CHONDROMALACIA PATELLA

  • Chondromalacia patella is a condition which affects the knee.  The articular cartilage on the back of the knee cap softens and can result in wear and tear.

  • The condition has similar causative factors to patellofemoral syndrome.

 

Signs and symptoms

  • Pain at the front of the knee (behind the knee cap) with activity
  • Swelling
  • Crepitus (grating or grinding)
  • Aggravated by climbing stairs, running

 

 

WHAT CAUSES IT?

  • Irritation or rubbing of under the surface of the patella on femur
  • Acute or repetitive trauma
  • Genetic tendency
  • Rapid growth
  • High impact sports
  • Tight ITB
  • Abnormal lower limb alignment (knock knees, over pronation)
  • Maltracking of the patella
  • Poor lumbopelvic stability
HOW TO SELF MANAGE

 

  • R.I.C.E. protocol

  • Rest from or modify aggravating activities

  • Try walking and swimming as alternate forms of exercise

  • Speak to your GP or pharmacist RE suitable medication for pain relief

  • Seek x-ray or scan to confirm diagnosis

PROGNOSIS
  • Rest may be enough to settle pain and allow tissues time to repair

  • An X-ray and MRI will determine the extent of damage

  • An arthroscope may be required to smooth or repair the cartilage lining the under-surface of the patella.

  • If not managed, there is a likelihood the OCD will progress to osteoarthritis

     

HOW PHYSIO HELPS?
  • Assess your knee for chondromalacia patella
  • Refer for investigation if necessary
  • Review training and sport for activity modification
  • Release tight structures (ITB, lateral retinaculum)
  • Assess for lower limb muscular imbalance
  • Patella mobilisation
  • Patella strapping
  • Prescription of exercises to correct imbalances in flexibility and strength
  • Pilates exercises to improve lumbopelvic stability

 

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