Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia patella is basically softening and damage of the cartilage which is covering the underside of the patella ( knee cap). This damage causes rubbing of the knee cap and thigh bone (femur) and leads to knee pain. A grinding feeling along with a dull and achy pain during the knee flexion. If you are having these symptoms you should take rest to reduce these symptoms.

Stages of Chondromalacia Patella

  • Stage I:- Smoothing of the patellar cartilage.
  • Stage II:- Cartilage softening with the abnormal patellar surface. Starting of tissue damage.
  • Stage III:- Visual reduction in cartilage thickness with ongoing degeneration.
  • Stage IV:- Bone exposure and the patellar surface starts rubbing on the femur during knee movement. This is a severe stage.


  • Rubbing between the knee cap and thighbone (femur).
  • The kneecap is not in the proper position.
  • Tightness or weakness of the quadriceps (front thigh muscles).
  • Patellar tracking on the femur is abnormal.
  • Excessive activities that include knees like kneeling, jumping, running, etc.
  • Direct injury or trauma to the patella (knee cap).

Risk factors

  • People who are obese
  • People with a previous knee injury, fracture or patellar subluxation or dislocation.
  • People who do sports activities (involving knee), running, cycling, or heavy exercises.
  • Females, teenagers, and young adults are more prone.
  • People with flatfoot.


  • Achy and dull pain felt behind, below, and on the sides of the knee cap.
  • Grinding feels during knee flexion.
  • Limitation in full joint movement
  • You can also feel grinding or rubbing during going downstairs, running, and standing up.


  • Physical examination is performed by the doctor to identify the reason for pain.
  • X-Ray examination is also required to know the joint condition.
  • Blood tests are prescribed if needed – like the RA factor, Sr. creatinine, and serum urate, etc.
  • MRI is performed if the diagnosis is not clear or doubtful.
  • Arthroscopy procedure, to see inside the joint with the help of a flexible camera.


  • The best way to reduce the symptoms is to rest.
  • Do icing on the affected area for at least 15-20 minutes, for 2-4 times in a day for at least 2 weeks. Always cover the ice with a towel or cloth.
  • Drugs: Medicines are prescribed by the doctor to relieve the pain like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.
  • Some gels or patches are also used and applied over the skin.
  • use knee brace as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Physiotherapy
  • Other treatment/Self-care
    • Do stretching exercises ( for thigh muscles) along with strengthening.
    • Try to reduce your body weight.
    • Use proper shoes/footwear (proper arch support and soft soles).
    • Wear proper sports footwear according to sports activity.
    • Damage to the surrounding structures
    • Correct the alignment of the patella (knee cap) with the use of taping.
  • Surgeries
    If all the nonsurgical options are failed then there will be a need for surgery:-

    • Chondrectomy
    • Replacement of the damaged area
    • Drilling to heal the damaged cartilage
    • Complete patellectomy
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