Chondromalacia Patella/Runners Knee

Chondromalacia Patella/Runners Knee



What a horrible word! Sounds terrible doesn’t it? Well I’m going to try and explain and break it down so it’s a bit easier for you to understand if you don’t already. 


Chondral is another term for cartilage and Malacia means abnormal softening of body tissue. So once you put them two together it’s pretty simple and relates to a the cartilage being effected but where?


Well the patella is the kneecap and on the underneath surface of it you have two groves called facets, these facets have cartilage that lines them to reduce the bone of your thigh (femur) rubbing against the kneecap. This happens especially when the quadriceps (muscles on the front surface of the thigh) contract or when the knee flexes. This is normally when someone with Chondromalacia patella suffers with pain. Other symptoms are normally an indicator of Chondromalacia patella and include; pain after being seated for long periods, when getting up off a chair, going up and down stairs, when kneeling or squatting.


It is described as early changes to the cartilage on the underneath surface of the patella and is usually due to weak or too tight of the muscles surrounding the knee causing maltracking of the patella. This then rubs the cartilage when its supposed to glide smoothly instead. If it isn’t effectively treated it can eventually lead to Osteoarthritis. 


A physical exam can be performed to help diagnose this disorder however for a more accurate diagnosis an X-ray can look for any degenerative changes, a blood test can look for the inflammation and an MRI can see the detail of the knee joint. 


Non-steroidal anti inflammatory medication can be used if your health allows and can help tackle the inflammation being caused, a knee brace or support can be used temporarily to help support your patella while in motion, ice therapy for 10 minutes at a time to also bring the inflammation down but for more of a long term solution exercise to strengthen and stretch the musculature of the knee to track the patella correctly and maintaining a healthy weight should be considered. In very severe cases surgery can be performed to re-align the patella.

Close Menu
Correct Osteo Clinic Logo


Osteopathy works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments, viscera and connective tissues functioning smoothly together Osteopathy takes a holistic, whole-body approach to healthcare.