Chondromalacia patella is a wearing down of the cartilage around the kneecap.
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This problem may happen due to overuse. It may also happen when a kneecap is not in line.
This problem is more common in women. It is also more common in people under 40 years of age who are very active. The risk is greater in athletes, such as runners.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
Problems may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, health history, and the activities that you do. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the knee. This is enough to make the diagnosis.
The goal is to ease pain, improve motion, and stop or slow the problem from getting worse. This may be done with:
Some people may need surgery, but it is not common.
The risk of this problem may be lowered by:
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Knee pain. Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/sports_injury/knee_pain.html. Updated January 2020. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Lester JD, Watson JN, et al. Physical examination of the patellofemoral joint. Clin Sports Med. 2014 Jul;33(3):403-412.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome. Updated November 6, 2019. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner's knee). Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/mens_health/patellofemoral_pain_syndrome_runners_knee_85,P07841. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Runner's knee (patellofemoral pain). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/patellofemoral-pain-syndrome/. Updated February 2015. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS Last Updated: 3/30/2020