Chondromalacia Patella Therapy

If you experience a grinding sensation within your knee joint and intense pain over your kneecap, you’re probably suffering from chondromalacia patella. This condition is fairly common in individuals playing high-impact sports or are already diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. There are numerous conservative and surgical interventions to manage this condition. However, chondromalacia patella therapy effectively helps with it.

Read to know more about chondromalacia patella therapy, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and medical treatment.

What is Chondromalacia Patella?

Chondromalacia consists of two words: chondro refers to cartilage, and malacia means softening of the bone or tissue due to any pathology. In simple words, chondromalacia patella, also known as runner’s knee, is a disorder where patellar cartilage gets softened and damaged. 

Patellar cartilage is present on the underside of the patella, which forms a knee joint with tibia and femur bones of the lower limb. When your patellar cartilage wears out, it causes friction during knee movement. This leads to grinding and rubbing of the patella against the knee joint, which results in pain and inflammation.

Knee physical therapy helps treat many different knee conditions, including the following:

What are the Causes of Chondromalacia Patella?

Before understanding how chondromalacia patella therapy works, you must know what causes this condition.

Chondromalacia patella usually happens when the cartilage that supports your kneecap gets damaged. It may also occur when the ligaments or tendons that hold the patella in its position fail to perform their function. This leads to abnormal knee movements, which puts your patellar cartilage at risk of deteriorating.

However, these conditions may play a part in abnormal knee movements:

  • Weak Musculature – Weak quadriceps muscles are more likely to put more strain on your knee joint, causing misalignment of the patella and resulting in abnormal movements
  • Traumatic Injuries – Traumatic injuries, including tears to the ligaments or tendons and femur, tibia, or patella fractures, may instigate faulty biomechanics of knee joint
  • Overuse In Athletes – Athletes tend to go through repetitive stress by doing continuous running or dribbling activities that often predispose the patella to wear and tear

What are the Symptoms of Chondromalacia Patella?

Some factors elevate your risk of getting chondromalacia patella which consists of:

  • Adolescents are more likely to get chondromalacia patella than children or adults. Due to the growth spurts, the muscle mass and bones abruptly develop, which can cause muscle imbalance in adolescents.
  • Females are more prone to suffer from a runner’s knee than males due to the larger Q angle, the angle between the patellar tendon and quadriceps muscle, which places more stress on their knee joints. 
  • People who are overweight have more chances of getting chondromalacia patella as their knees are under a heavy workload.
  • Arthritis results in inflammation and stiffness of the knee joint that may provoke the patella to perform abnormal movements. 

Conditions like flat feet, a history of joint dislocations or athletic injuries, and playing high-impact sports are also among the risk factors for facing chondromalacia patella.

What are the Risk Factors of Chondromalacia Patella?

The following are the clinical features of chondromalacia patella:

  • Pain around the knee region, often called patellofemoral pain
  • Grinding or cracking sensation while bending or extending your knee
  • Pain that aggravates during prolonged sitting, standing, and strenuous exercises

If you experience any of the symptoms above, seek immediate medical attention. However, chondromalacia patella therapy focuses on providing symptomatic relief to the patients once the condition is diagnosed. 

How to get Chondromalacia Patella Diagnosed?

Your healthcare professional may ask for your medical history, including onset of pain, aggravating and relieving factors, and family history.

Also, your therapist will look for signs of inflammation, including swelling, tenderness, or redness around your patella. Additionally, your therapist will perform a patellar grinding and distraction test to identify your condition.

You may also asked to run these tests:

  • X-ray – It shows signs of bony changes and damage, predicting arthritis of your knee joint
  • MRI – It detects patellar cartilage wear and tear
  • Knee Arthroscopy – It is an invasive procedure where a camera is inserted into the knee joint to view its abnormalities

Once the condition is diagnosed, your healthcare professional will plan chondromalacia patella therapy to manage your symptoms.

How to get Your Chondromalacia Patella Treated?

Chondromalacia Patella treatment of choice is physical therapy. However, there are specific chondromalacia patella therapies to deal with this condition. It includes:

  • Cryotherapy, alongside rest, is the first line of treatment to deal with chondromalacia patella
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to manage pain and inflammation 
  • Surgery is performed via knee arthroscopy to manage misalignment of the kneecap. It usually fixes the tilt of the kneecap by releasing a ligament known as the lateral retinaculum. This leads to loosened tissues, which helps to realign the patella in its correct position.
  • Other surgical interventions consist of smoothing the posterior surface of the patella, relocating misaligned tendons of the thigh, or inserting a cartilage graft to deal with your chondromalacia patella. 

How Chondromalacia Patella Physical Therapy Works?

The primary goal of chondromalacia patella therapy is to release the stiff tissues around the damaged area and strengthen your weak musculature. However, electrical modalities help to give an alternative pathway to redirect your pain receptors and reduce your signs of inflammation. 

The physical therapy of chondromalacia patella works by opting for the following:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE) Protocol
  • Electrical Stimulation, such as TENs and Ultrasound 
  • K-taping to realign your patella and its associated musculature 
  • Stretching exercises followed by strengthening exercises 
  • Weight lifting 
  • Power training 
  • Balance and Coordination exercises 
  • Gait Training
  • Manual therapy techniques to reposition patella
  • Cupping therapy 

Where To Find Effective Chondromalacia Patella Physical Therapy in NYC?

At MOCEAN Therapy, our experienced physical therapists assess your patella and its surfaces manually by doing special tests before initiating your exercise regime. Also, we opt for various therapies, including K-taping, cupping, and cryotherapy, to reposition your patella. Our skillful team of therapists gives you an adequate exercise plan to strengthen muscle your patella and correct your gait pattern.

The Bottom Line

Chondromalacia patella affects adolescents and young athletes due to overuse injuries or repetitive stress. This condition is characterized by knee pain, grinding sensation, and inability to sit and stand for long hours. There are various conservative methods to manage this condition. However, chondromalacia patella therapy offers tailored exercise plans to heal this condition quickly and successfully.

To benefit from effective chondromalacia patella therapy in NYC, book an appointment online or contact us immediately.

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.