Chondromalacia is medical term for condition also known as the Runner’s knee. Some doctors may also refer to this problem as pattello-femoral pain, so don’t be surprised if you hear your doctor saying this instead of runner’s knee.
Who’s at risk?
Chondromalacia appears after wearing down of cartilage under the kneecap. People playing football, athletes and dancers are found to be especially prone to this problem, but it is also seen in some older people who are not engaged in any sports. Injuries of the patella or the knee may also provoke similar problems, as well as some work with legs and knees involvement.
Cartilage under the kneecap is basically very useful because it absorbs the shock. After some time or after some excess strain to the body, cartilage starts to wear down and people suffer from inflammation and pain in the knee.
Besides the inflammation and painful sensations people suffering from chondromalacia may also experience some cracking in the knee. The same thing repeats every time the person tries to climb the stairs or squat.
Pain is usually the only thing these patients feel and most of them describe this pain as dull and locate it in frontal portion of the knee. Area around the knee may also be very tender to touch and there might be some considerable swelling involved. Any chondromalacia patient who tried to fold the legs knows that there is going to be some grinding sounds here. The sounds appear as the result of the rubbing of cartilage and the knee bone. What Can Cause Chondromalacia
Overstrain and overuse are the most common causes of chondromalacia in older patients. When it happens to some younger people, doctors already know that it must have been some injury of the knee or surrounding tissue that provoked the pain and swelling. People may have turn their feet inwards to avoid or tone down the impact. This caused their kneecap to twist sideways and it ended up with these painful sensations. Another possible explanation for this type of problem is wearing of improper or worn out shoes, also associated with pain and cracking of the knee.
In elderly, the most common cause of chondromalacia is age related arthritis and wearing down of the kneecap cartilage.
How to Treat It?
Runner’s knee treatment is usually consisted of some painkillers and ice packs for temporary relief. However, for long term treatment, you need to strengthen the muscles of affected area and this requires proper exercises, prescribed by your doctor. Surgical treatment is the last resort and procedure called realignment is performed only in patients who haven’t responded to any other therapy.