Chondromalacia Patellae

Chondromalacia Patellae

Chondromalacia Patellae: Causes, Sufferers, Treatment, and Aspire's Effective Approach

Chondromalacia Patellae, also known as runner's knee, is a common knee condition that affects individuals of varying ages and lifestyles. This condition is characterized by the deterioration of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap), leading to pain and discomfort. In this blog, we will delve into the causes of Chondromalacia Patellae, identify the usual sufferers, discuss its occurrence among obese individuals, explore treatment methods, and highlight how Aspire, the Physical Rehabilitation Clinic, offers accurate treatment for this condition.

Causes of Chondromalacia Patellae

The exact cause of chondromalacia patellae is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including:

  • Overuse of the knee joint
  • Weak or tight muscles around the knee
  • Structural abnormalities of the kneecap
  • Injury to the knee
  • Obesity

Chondromalacia Patellae often occurs due to repetitive stress on the knee joint. Some common causes include:

  1. Malalignment of the Patella: If the patella is not properly aligned within the groove of the femur, it can cause uneven pressure on the cartilage during movement.
  2. Overuse or Repetitive Activities: Activities that involve frequent bending and straightening of the knee, such as running, jumping, or cycling, can lead to the breakdown of cartilage over time.
  3. Muscular Imbalances: Weakness or imbalance in the muscles surrounding the knee can alter the way the patella moves, leading to increased friction and wear on the cartilage.
  4. Trauma: Direct trauma to the knee, such as a fall or impact, can damage the cartilage and contribute to Chondromalacia Patellae.

Usual Sufferers of Chondromalacia Patellae

Chondromalacia patellae is more common in women than men, and it is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40. Obese people are also at an increased risk of developing chondromalacia patellae.

Chondromalacia Patellae is common among individuals who engage in activities that put excessive stress on the knee joint. This includes athletes, especially runners, cyclists, and individuals involved in high-impact sports. However, it's important to note that this condition can also affect people who are not necessarily involved in sports. Sedentary individuals who suddenly increase their physical activity level may also be at risk.

Chondromalacia Patellae and Obesity

While Chondromalacia Patellae can affect people of all body types, there is a correlation between obesity and the development of this condition. Excess body weight places additional stress on the knee joint, which can lead to cartilage breakdown.

Furthermore, obesity can contribute to muscle imbalances and alter the alignment of the patella, increasing the risk of Chondromalacia Patellae. Women, especially those who are obese, may be at a higher risk due to hormonal and biomechanical factors.


The symptoms of chondromalacia patellae can vary from mild to severe. They may include:

  • Pain in the front of the knee, especially when kneeling or going up or down stairs
  • Swelling around the kneecap
  • Cracking or popping noises when the kneecap moves
  • Weakness or instability in the knee

The diagnosis of chondromalacia patellae is usually made by a doctor or physical therapist. They will examine the knee and ask about your symptoms. In some cases, they may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to rule out other conditions.

Treatment Methods

Effective treatment strategies for Chondromalacia Patellae aim to alleviate pain, improve knee function, and address the underlying causes. Some common treatment methods include:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that put stress on the knee can help to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Ice: Applying ice to the knee for 20 minutes at a time several times a day can help to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Compression: Wrapping the knee with an elastic bandage can help to reduce swelling.
  • Elevating the knee: Keeping the knee elevated above the heart can also help to reduce swelling.
  • Activity Modification: Taking a break from activities that aggravate the condition can help reduce pain and promote healing.
  • Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may provide temporary relief.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve range of motion.
  • Orthotics: Orthotics, such as knee braces or custom shoe inserts, can help to improve alignment of the knee and reduce pain.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections or hyaluronic acid injections may be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the cartilage in the kneecap.

Aspire's Approach to Treatment

Aspire, the Physical Rehabilitation Clinic, offers a comprehensive and tailored approach to treating Chondromalacia Patellae. Their team of experienced physical therapists and healthcare professionals work closely with patients to design individualized treatment plans. Aspire's approach includes:

  1. Thorough Assessment: A detailed evaluation of the patient's condition, including identifying muscle imbalances and biomechanical issues.
  2. Customized Exercise Programs: Targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee and improve joint stability.
  3. Manual Therapy: Techniques such as joint mobilization and soft tissue manipulation to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
  4. Education: Educating patients about proper biomechanics, activity modification, and self-management strategies.
  5. Progressive Rehabilitation: Gradually progressing the treatment plan based on the patient's response and improvement.

Here are some additional tips for preventing chondromalacia patellae:

  • Warm up before exercising.
  • Cool down after exercising.
  • Wear proper footwear.
  • Avoid activities that put stress on your knees.
  • Strengthen the muscles around your knees.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

By following these tips, you can help to reduce your risk of developing chondromalacia patellae.


Chondromalacia Patellae is a common knee condition that can affect individuals of various backgrounds and lifestyles. While it often occurs in athletes and those engaged in high-impact activities, it can also develop due to obesity and muscular imbalances.

Aspire, the Physical Rehabilitation Clinic, offers a holistic approach to treating Chondromalacia Patellae, focusing on personalized care and evidence-based interventions to alleviate pain, improve knee function, and enhance the overall quality of life for their patients. If you're experiencing knee pain or suspect you might have Chondromalacia Patellae, seeking professional guidance from experts like those at Aspire can make a significant difference in your recovery journey.


By Dr.Chitra Chand (Physical Assessment Analyst)