Chondromalacia patellae, commonly known as “runner’s knee”, is a condition which occurs when the cartilage under the knee cap begins to breakdown. Improper alignment of the knee caps and structures holding it in place can cause it to rub against the bone and breakdown the cartilage. Chondromalacia patellae is commonly found among young athletes especially during growth spurts (females more often than males) but can also be seen in older persons with arthritis of the knee. In most cases, people with chondromalacia patellae do not seek medical treatment even when they experience the symptoms.
Symptoms may include knee pain such as a grinding or snapping sensation when extending the knee. Added stress to your knee from exercising or standing for a long period of time will worsen the symptoms. Prevention includes wearing kneepads when applying pressure to your knees (kneeling for extended time) strengthening other muscles of the leg surrounding the knee, wearing shoes with arch support, and maintaining a healthy weight to attempt to decrease pressure on joints. A doctor will examine your knee for swelling, tenderness, and proper alignment. X-rays and MRIs are used to confirm such diagnosis. Finally, treatment options include physical therapy to strengthen the other muscles or surgery to fix alignment issues. It is important to see a doctor to learn more about the condition and proceed properly.