Chondromalacia patella can be sub-grouped into conditions that cause kneecap pain and all such conditions fall under the Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome condition.
Chondromalacia Patellae is defined as the “softening of the cartilage under the knee cap”.
Chondromalacia patellae are due to irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap. The undersurface of the patella is covered with a layer of smooth cartilage. This cartilage helps in patellar glide effortlessly over the femoral condyle during bending of the joint. However, in individuals with lower leg malalignment issues, the patella tends to rub against one side of the knee joint causing irritation of the cartilage causing knee pain.
This condition often affects young and healthy athletes. It is one of the common conditions that cause anterior knee pain. If anterior knee pain or knee cap pain exists in the absence of cartilage softening is can be referred to as Patellofemoral pain syndrome.
This condition commonly occurs during sporting activities; however, it can affect any member of the population. Sporting activities that involve running, jumping, squatting, and landing are more susceptible to this problem. The non-sporting person can even experience kneecap pain while descending or ascending stairs, more commonly while descending.
Chondromalacia patellae result from either acute injury to the patellar joint surface or from chronic friction between the patella and femoral condyle while repetitive knee bends.
Causes of Chondromalacia patella
Potential causes include-
- Tight lateral knee structures such as the ITB, lateral retinaculum,
- Weak medial quadriceps (vastus medialis oblique – VMO),
- Overpronating feet and
- Overactive/ tight glutei and lateral hip rotator muscles.
These muscle imbalances result in a rotational instability that causes the patella to be laterally aligned in the femoral groove, which causes pain due to the malalignment.
The patellar mal-tracking can be fixed with physiotherapy assessment and treatment.
Contact PAIN-FREE PHYSIOTHERAPY CLINIC to understand your kneecap problem better and for a more efficient treatment regime.