The term “Chondromalacia Patellae” (CMP) describes painful damage to the cartilage behind your kneecap. CMP may begin at any age and is commonly found in teenagers. The likelihood of developing CMP increases with age, and the condition is more common in females. You are more likely to develop CMP if you are overweight or have had a prior knee injury.
One of the most common causes of CMP is an imbalance between the muscles that help to guide your kneecap and its “V-shaped” groove at the end of your thigh bone. Repeatedly flexing and extending a misaligned kneecap leads to pain, swelling, and eventually cartilage damage. Misalignment of the kneecap (patella) is often secondary to problems in your hip and foot, especially weakness of your gluteal muscles or flat feet.
CMP causes a dull pain behind your kneecap that is aggravated by prolonged walking, running, squatting, jumping, kneeling, stair climbing, or arising from a seated position. The pain is often worse when walking down hill or down stairs. Popping, grinding, or giving way may occur from long-standing misalignments.
Conservative care, like the type provided in this office, is generally successful at relieving your symptoms. It is important for you to minimize activities that provoke your pain, especially running, jumping, and activities that stress you into a “knock-knee” position. Do not allow your knees to cross in front of your toes when squatting. Some athletes may need to modify their activity to include swimming or bicycling instead of running. Performing your home exercises is one of the most important things that you can do to help recover. The use of home ice or ice massage applied around your kneecap for 10-15 minutes, several times per day, may be helpful.