Chondromalacia Patella Exercises | Which Exercises to Avoid

Chondromalacia patella refers to the wear and tear of cartilage that lies underneath the kneecap. The condition is common among athletes and adolescents. The symptoms of chondromalacia patella present as knee pain and grinding sensation that increases with high-impact activities. There are numerous therapies to manage this condition conservatively and surgically. However, chondromalacia patella exercises treat this inflammatory disorder successfully.

Read more to learn about the five most effective chondromalacia patella exercises.

What are the 5 Most Effective Chondromalacia Patella Exercises?

The primary goal of chondromalacia patella exercises is to improve the stiffness of the knee musculature, followed by their strength once the inflammatory process has subsided. Furthermore, chondromalacia patella exercises help to reposition the kneecap to treat the misalignment caused by muscle imbalance.

Following are the easiest yet effective chondromalacia patella therapeutic exercises:

Straight Leg Raise

Straight leg raise (SLR) is the first exercise to start your chondromalacia patella rehabilitation. This exercise strengthens the quadriceps muscle, besides stretching the hamstrings of the lower limb.

The steps to do a straight leg raise are:

  • Lie on a yoga mat or bed with an unaffected knee bent to 45 degrees with the foot flat. In contrast, the affected leg should be placed in an extended position.
  • Now, try to raise the affected limb as high as you can without bending your knee.
  • Hold this posture for 5 seconds before slowly putting your limb down
  • Each set of this exercise must contain 10 to 15 repetitions
  • Perform 2 to 3 sets of straight leg raises daily.


Clamshell in among the progressive chondromalacia patella exercises to strengthen hip external rotators and gluteus medius muscle. If you have weak hip musculature, your femur bone is more likely to suffer from misalignment, which induces extra stress on your knee joint.

However, to execute clamshell, you need to follow these steps:

  • Find a soft mattress or yoga mat. Then lie down in a side-lying position with your one limb stacked up on another with knees bent.
  • Now, hold your ankles together and create a gap between your knees by externally rotating the topmost leg without losing your balance.
  • Maintain this position for 5 seconds before lowering your affected limb.
  • Do 5 to 10 repetitions of this exercise in each set
  • Carry out 2 to 3 sets of Campshell exercises daily

Prone Hip Extension

Prone hip extension is an exercise that makes your gluteal and hamstring muscles stronger. However, individuals with weak gluteal musculature tend to withstand extra load on their knee joint, which causes wear and tear of patellar cartilage.

The steps to fulfill prone hip extension exercise are as follows:

  • Grab a couch or lie down on your floor in a prone position. Your stomach should face the ground with your limbs straightened. 
  • Now, gradually try to lift your affected limbs in the air until you feel the contraction in your hamstring muscles.
  • Hold this posture for 5 seconds, and then bring your limb into its original position. 
  • Do 8 to 10 repetitions of this exercise in each set
  • Complete 2 to 3 sets of prone knee extension every day

Static Quads

Static Quads enable your weak muscle knee extensors (quadriceps muscles) to strengthen by doing isometric contraction. Moreover, a weak quadriceps creates a muscle imbalance in your lower limb that predisposes you to develop chondromalacia patella. 

The steps to do static quads include:

  • Lie down on a bed or yoga mat with your limbs extended
  • Now, place a cushion under your knee joint and press against it until you feel the contraction on your thigh
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Do 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise in each set
  • Complete 2 to 3 sets of static quads daily

Semi Squats

Semi Squats is an advanced closed-chain kinetic exercise for chondromalacia patella in which your foot remains in contact with the ground or cannot move. In comparison, open-chain chondromalacia patella exercises allow your foot to move freely and are easier to perform than closed-chain exercises. 

Semi-squats train your affected limb to withstand weight once the strength of your quadriceps and gluteal muscles are developed.

The steps to do Semi Squats are:

  • Stand against a wall with your limbs extended.
  • Move both your feet slightly outside and have a shoulder-length gap between them.
  • Now, slowly start to bend your knees by 15 degrees. Don’t flex your knee above 45 degrees. Remember to keep your back supported during this movement.
  • Hold this position for 2 seconds and then straighten your knees 
  • Perform 5 repetitions of this exercise in a single set
  • Complete 2 or 3 sets of semi squats every day

What are the Chondromalacia Patella Exercises to Avoid?

There are specific chondromalacia patella exercises to avoid that can cause a burden on your damaged kneecap and worsen your condition. 

  • Running and jogging for extended periods
  • Lunge exercises that require you to do quick and forceful knee movements 
  • Both deep squatting and quadriceps drills exercises ask you to bend your knee excessively to put strain on your quadriceps muscles

Is Walking Good For Chondromalacia Patella?

Walking is among the low-impact exercises for chondromalacia patella that are safe to perform and elevate your knee joint function without putting additional stress on it.

Other activities that are considered safe for chondromalacia patella include;

  • Yoga 
  • Low-impact Pilates
  • Kayaking 
  • Water Aerobics, such as swimming 
  • Rowing
  • Skiing
  • Rollerblading
  • Workout on an elliptical trainer

Find Reliable and Safe Chondromalacia Patella Physical Therapy in NYC, USA

At MOCEAN Therapy, our team of experienced physical therapists assesses your knee cap by applying special tests before initiating your treatment regime.

Our therapists are well-versed in handling the latest equipment and modern electrical modalities, including cryotherapy and red light therapy, to manage knee pain. Furthermore, our manual therapists will incorporate K-taping to correct misalignment of your lower limb.

Additionally, we will formulate an effective exercise plan for you to get rid of chondromalacia patella as quickly as possible.

Therefore, book an appointment by contacting us today online to get reliable and safe chondromalacia patella therapy in NYC, USA. 

Then we create a health plan tailored to your needs.

Based on the results, we develop a personalized treatment plan for each individual to promote optimal health. With 1-on-1 consultations, cutting-edge technology, and a team of experts who care about getting you better, MOCEAN offers you a comprehensive road map on how to become the healthiest version of yourself.