The people with Chondromalacia patella (CMP) have pain in front of the knee, and also, feel a grating sensation while they flex the knee. Chondromalacia patella is a condition which occurs due to the abnormal wear or damage of the cartilage, called as hyaline cartilage, present under the patella or kneecap. The hyaline cartilage is responsible for providing the cushioning effect and the smooth movement between the patella and the thighbone. The condition is mostly seen in teenagers and young adults, but it is more common in females. The exact etiology of the condition is poorly understood, but in most of the cases, it is associated with the injury-related factors. This article will help you know about the early symptoms so that you can take help from your physician before it becomes a serious one.
Symptoms and causes of Chondromalacia patella:
Chondromalacia patella is often confused with patellofemoral pain (PFPS) as CMP syndrome often occurs as a result of PFPS. The patients with CMP usually have the following symptoms:
As mentioned above, the exact cause of the condition is not known, but it is believed that it is caused by the unusual or aberrant drag of the thigh muscles (quadriceps) on the patella/kneecap, which leads to the knee cap being dragged out from the normal groove, making it irritated.
Risk Factors of Chondromalacia Patella:
The factors which can increase the risk of having the condition are:
Diagnosis of Chondromalacia patella:
The diagnosis of Chondromalacia is typically based on the observation of the symptoms. So, the physician will evaluate the condition depending on the physical examination, with some orthopedic tests. He /she may also advise you to go for a normal X-ray. So, the tests are:
An X-ray helps in evaluating the following things:
Other tests may include:
Treatment for Chondromalacia patella:
The treatment of Chondromalacia patella is usually based on the causative factors. Your doctor should refer you to a physiotherapist to look more closely at your lower limb muscles. Typically, the treatment includes the following:
Exercise and stretching can really help beat the symptoms of Chondromalacia patella. They also work excellent if there is any muscle imbalance, and improve the movement of the kneecap.
Knee Brace belt:
Using a strap directly below the patella helps relieve pressure on the joint, reducing the pain. It is easy to use, and proven to be very effective.
PRICE stands for protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This therapy helps reduce the pain and inflammation and provides a speedy recovery.
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like, ibuprofen help relieve inflammation and pain.
Using ice regularly and also before and after any stressful activity can help reduce the inflammation and pain.
It can help relieve pressure on the kneecap. It is actually useful when you are playing sports. A physiotherapist can guide you to do it properly.
The modification of activity:
Modify the current activity, instead of trying to swim or ride a bicycle. If you want to run, make sure you are wearing good shoes which give you comfort, and also stay away from hard surfaces, such as concrete.
Orthotics like footwear insole can help correct the flatfoot and reduce the force across the kneecap.
Knee Pads work great to reduce pain and irritation when you kneel.
Surgical procedures are considered if the non-surgical treatment does not work, and also when the pain is not relieved. The surgery is performed by Arthroscopy, which requires 2-3 small holes around the knee and then need to insert a tiny camera. Then, the tight ligament is cut to allow the kneecap to sit in the right place at the slot, and to shave the every bit of damaged cartilage. Arthroscopic surgery is also effective to examine the inside of the joint, and to determine if there is any misalignment of the knee. Other surgical options may involve smoothing the back of the kneecap, the implementation of a cartilage graft or relocating the thigh muscle attachments.
Tips to prevent chondromalacia:
You can reduce your risk of developing CMP by following the below mentioned tips:
Chondromalacia is a condition which can be easily treated if you visit your physician at the right time. Luckily, is can be managed very well by physical rehabilitation and orthotics in most of the cases to alleviate the pain, which makes you able to maintain the active lifestyle. So, if you are experiencing the similar symptoms, then take an active role to consult with your doctor, before it becomes too complicated!