Many people suffer from knee pain and discomfort. While there are many conditions that can affect the knee, one of the most common problems is called chondromalacia. This condition affects the underside of the kneecap where cartilage under the surface of the patella typically provides a smooth surface for the patella to glide on during the flexing and extending of the knee. Chondromalacia results in the softening, pitting and increased wear of this cartilage, which leads to increased friction that cause pain, discomfort and further degeneration.
There are many different causes of chondromalacia of the patella. Traumatic events such as an automobile accident can cause this disorder, however there are other, less severe ways to develop this condition. Degradation of the cartilage under the patella can simply result from overuse stemming from normal physical activity. Patients who suffer from chondromalacia have difficulties squatting, kneeling and descending and ascending stairs. While this condition can make everyday life challenging and frustrating, there are treatment options available to help patients reduce pain and discomfort by restoring the proper track of the patella.
Physical therapy is key in the treatment of many knee problems and chondromalacia is no exception. Physical therapists will help patients to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the kneecap. Patients are often instructed to wear tape or a brace on the knee to further promote stabilization of the patella.
Modification of activity is another crucial component of the treatment plan. By eliminating strenuous activities like repetitive stair climbing, squatting, running, hiking and weight lifting, people with chondromalacia will see a major reduction in pain and a significant boost in the recovery process. While physical therapy and the modification of activities can go a long way in helping to reduce pain from chondromalacia, it is important for patients to recognize that the condition cannot be entirely cured. Unfortunately, the human body cannot regenerate the cartilage found under the patella so people with this condition should focus on reducing pain and improving their everyday lives.
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