Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Chondromalacia Overview

What is chondromalacia?
A person with chondromalacia has breakdown and softening of the cartilage underneath the knee cap, which results in swelling and pain in the knee. Chondromalacia is most commonly caused by muscle weakness in the thigh, overuse, or knee injury. In some cases, abnormal alignment of the kneecap may be the problem. Other risk factors include flat feet and poorly-fitting shoes.

What are the symptoms of chondromalacia?
Symptoms of chondromalacia include knee pain that worsens with climbing or kneeling. Other symptoms include grinding in the knee with movement, knee swelling and stiffness.

How does the doctor treat chondromalacia?
Treatment for chondromalacia includes rest, elevation, cold compresses, and elastic wrapping the knee. Crutches are often recommended. Other options include physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain, and arthroscopic surgery.

Continue to Chondromalacia Symptoms

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Chondromalacia References
  1. Bosch JJ. Chondromalacia patella. J Pediatr Health Care. 1999 May-Jun;13(3 Pt 1):144. [10531909]
  2. Fredericson M, Yoon K. Physical examination and patellofemoral pain syndrome. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2006 Mar;85(3):234-43. [16505640]
  3. Holmes SW Jr, Clancy WG Jr. Clinical classification of patellofemoral pain and dysfunction. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1998 Nov;28(5):299-306. [9809278]
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