Chondromalacia Patella - Treatment

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How is chondromalacia patella treated?

The primary goal for treatment and rehabilitation of chondromalacia patella is to create a straighter pathway for the patella to follow during quadriceps contraction. Initial pain management involves avoiding motions which irritate the kneecap. Icing and anti-inflammatory medications (for examples, ibuprofen [Advil/Motrin] or naproxen [Aleve]) can be helpful.

Selective strengthening of the inner portion of the quadriceps muscle helps normalize the tracking of the patella. Cardiovascular conditioning can be maintained by stationary bicycling (low resistance but high rpms), pool running, or swimming (flutter kick). Reviewing any changes in training prior to chondromalacia patella pain, as well as examining running shoes for proper biomechanical fit are critical to avoid repeating the painful cycle. Generally, full squat exercises with weights are avoided. Occasionally, bracing with patellar centering devices are required. Infrequently, surgical correction of knee alignment is considered.

Stretching and strengthening the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups is critical for an effective and lasting rehabilitation of chondromalacia patella. "Quad sets" are the foundation of such a physical therapy program. Quad sets are done by contraction the thigh muscles while the legs are straight and holding the contraction for a count of 10. Sets of 10 contractions are done between 15-20 times per day.

Return to Chondromalacia Patella (Patellofemoral Syndrome)

See what others are saying

Comment from: diane, 65-74 (Patient) Published: May 14

For as long as I can remember, I have had knock knees. I have exercised for 33 years. Recently, I slipped down a cement step and my right knee hit the cement wall. Since then, the pain has worsened and climbing up and down stairs hurts. I can't sit still in a car or a movie theater without moving from side to side, the pain seems to build to the point that I have to move and it stops for a time and starts again. It's very embarrassing not to be able to sit still. I am having orthroscopic surgery on my right knee.

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Comment from: Wendy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I hurt my knee about 5 weeks ago and have been limping around ever since. I did all the R.I.C.E. home treatments and nothing worked for more than a couple hours. Yesterday I saw a knee specialist who diagnosed me with chondromalacia patella. He gave me a cortisone shot and prescribed physical therapy for 4 weeks. For the first time in 5 weeks, I have almost no pain. Praying that the cortisone & therapy help get me back to my normal, active lifestyle.

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