Patella chondromalacia: symptoms and treatment

Chondromalation of the patella is a pathological process that results in the destruction of the cartilage of the posterior surface of the patella. In the people this disease is often called the «knee runner». Most often, the disease is diagnosed in women after 40 years. But people of a younger age are no exception.


This pathology develops because of the systematic friction of the patella on the femur. To this pathological process can result in the following:

  • Achilles tendon elasticity insufficiency
  • congenital foot pathologies
  • Excessive exercise;
  • injuries of the lower extremities (fracture of the condyle, damage to the medial meniscus)
  • knee joint overload during exercise.

Chondromalacia of the knee joint can also develop due to a systematically incorrect exercise of physical exercises.

As for the damage to the condyles and the medial meniscus, such pathologies are most often observed in professional athletes who often perform the same type of exercises. It should be noted and the fact that trauma to the medial meniscus or condyle requires a long and serious treatment. Otherwise, not only chondromalacia of the patella, but also other more serious ailments of the musculoskeletal system may develop.

Since the cause of the development of the pathological process is the deterioration of the elasticity of the thigh muscles, in the absence of proper treatment, the ailment can lead to disability.

General Symptoms

The first and most reliable sign of the disease is pain when doing physical exercises. As the disease develops, pain in the femur can disturb a person even in a state of rest.

In addition, with chondromalacia of the knee joint, the following symptoms can occur:

  1. snapping, even with insignificant motor activity
  2. inflammation in the patella or condyles
  3. calyx edema, localized fever;
  4. redness of the skin.

As the patellar chondromalia develops, a painful character can disturb a person even in a state of rest.

It should be noted that such signs may indicate other diseases. Therefore, in the above clinical picture, you should seek medical help, rather than self-medicate.


In official medicine, according to the international classification (ICD-10), it is customary to distinguish such degrees of development of this disease:

  • First degree — superficial cartilage damage
  • second degree — pathology in the region of the intermediate and basal layer of cartilage
  • The third degree is the destruction of the cartilage, reaching the femur without damaging the latter;
  • The fourth degree is the destruction of the basal layer of the cartilage and the surface of the bone.

If you detect the disease at the initial stages of development, then you can do with conservative treatment.


Since the clinical picture with this disease is very ambiguous, it is impossible to accurately diagnose only on the basis of symptoms and anamnesis. For this purpose, instrumental diagnostics are carried out:

  1. arthroscopy
  2. CT;
  3. MRI.

Radiography, in this case, is not carried out, since the cartilaginous tissue is simply not visible. As for laboratory research methods, they are used for the circumstances.

You can prescribe the correct treatment only on the basis of an accurately diagnosed diagnosis. Self-treatment is unacceptable.


In most clinical cases, treatment is conservative. Surgical intervention is applicable only in the most extreme cases. As for drug therapy, the doctor can prescribe the following medications:

  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Local anesthetics

Also exercises exercise exercise. If the ailment is diagnosed in the athlete, then it is necessary to change the training program, the frequency of the exercises, at least for the period of treatment.

The surgical intervention is applicable only if conservative therapy and exercise therapy have not produced the proper result. The operation is aimed at restoring the anatomically correct position of the patella in relation to the femur.


As such prevention of this disease, no. But, if you exercise correctly, exercise correctly, take care of yourself from injuries and apply for correct medical help in a timely manner, you can minimize the risk of developing diseases of the musculoskeletal system.