Condromalacia patella (CMP) is one of the most common causes of knee pain. This condition is commonly seen in adolescent women and as a part of normal ageing process. Athletes and runners are most prone to this condition.
Condromalacia means the abnormal degeneration or softening of the cartilage which forms the knee joint (articular cartilage). Patella is one of the bones which forms the knee joint. This condition can occur due to constant friction or rubbing on a hard surface.
Condromalacia patella mainly affects the articular cartilage of the knee joint which lies beneath the knee cap ( patella) .The pain is generally felt in the front of the knee joint(anterior part). The cartilage acts as a shock absorber. Pain is generally felt due to overuse or increased friction or any kind of injury in that area.
This condition is also referred to as ‘Patella-Femoral pain’ or ‘Stress syndrome’.
It may or may not progress to osteoarthritis. But some authors believe that condromalacia patella is the precursor of osteoarthritis.
In normal knee, the cartilage (articular cartilage) is smooth and elastic which glides smoothly over the femur bone (thigh bone). This smooth movement of the cartilage is restricted when the cartilage gets eroded and affects the smooth movement of the joint which causes pain in the joint on bending.
-Injury to the joint area.
-Uneven pressure onto the joint area.
-Abnormal alignment of the patella.
-Overuse of the joint (in athletes / runners)
–Pain around the knee cap.
-Pain intensity in increased on squatting , kneeling , going up and down the stairs
-Radiating pain to the back of the joint.
–The degree of severity of the condition can be assessed by taking x-rays of the affected area. CT scans and MRI scans also help in analyzing the condition.
-Temporary relief can be acquired by taking NSAID’s (Non Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs) which includes aspirin or ibuprofen.
-Physical therapy like stretching exercise and other rehabilitation exercises can improve the condition. Muscle strengthening exercises are generally performed which strengthens the muscles supporting the joint area.
-Simple methods like ice application on your knee after any physical exercise will improve the condition.
-Your physical therapist may suggest taping of the knee joint which would gradually strengthen your knee and improve your exercising ability
Surgical treatments include:
a) Artheroscopy –A procedure in which a tiny incision is made and a thin device with a camera and light is inserted into the joint area and tiny fragments of bone are removed.
b) Realignment of the joint can also improve the condition.
– A warm up exercise is always a must.
– Excess weight must be lost.
– Gentle stretching exercises must be performed regularly.
– Maintain good strength by exercising the muscles around the joint. Strong muscular support around the joint will keep balanced forces acting on the joint.
– Comfortable shoes should be worn while performing any kind of physical exercise.
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