Brief outline of chondromalacia patellae (runner’s knee)

The underside of the patella is protected by cartilage. Chondromalacia patellae occurs when this cartilage becomes damaged and softens. Softening and degeneration of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap in athletes is usually a result of overuse, trauma, or abnormal forces on the knee. In older adults it can be a result of degenerative arthritis. Pain under the kneecap and a grating sensation when the knee is extended are possible signs of this condition.

Chondromalacia Patella

Cause of chondromalacia patellae (runner’s knee)

Repetitive micro-trauma to the cartilage through overuse conditions. Misalignment of the kneecap. Previous fracture or dislocation of the kneecap.

Signs and symptoms of chondromalacia patellae (runner’s knee)

Pain that worsens after sitting for prolonged periods or when using stairs or rising from a seated position. Tenderness over the kneecap. Grating or grinding sensation when the knee is extended.

Complications if left chondromalacia patellae (runner’s knee) unattended

Cartilage that degenerates and becomes rough can cause scarring in the bone surface that it rubs against. This in turn causes more inflammation. Cartilage can also be torn when it is rough, leading to loose bodies in the joint.
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