What is chondromalacia?

Chondromalacia patellae is also known as runner’s knee. It is a condition in which the cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap softens and deteriorates. Chondromalacia is a common injury affecting professional athletes and young, active people, but can affect any person, of any age.

What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?

  • Pain in the knee region is the main symptom of chondromalacia patellae.
  • It may worsen after activities that put pressure on the knees, such as standing for an extended period of time or exercising.
  • Pain may worsen after prolonged sitting.
  • Other symptoms may include grinding or cracking when you bend or extend the knee.
Man having knee checked by a professional

What causes improper movement of the kneecap?

Components involved in bending the knee may fail to move properly for a number of reasons including:

  • Poor alignment due to a hereditary condition
  • Imbalance between the muscles on the outside and inside of the thighs
  • Weak hamstrings (in the back of the thigh) or quadriceps (in the front of the thigh)
  • Direct blow or trauma to the kneecap
  • Repeated stress to the knee joints from activities such as running, jumping, or skiing

How is it treated?

Dr. Yoon offers a number of state-of-the-art treatments for degenerative joint diseases, such as chondromalacia patellae. If you are diagnosed with runner’s knee, your treatment plan may include treatments such as:

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections: Platelet rich plasma is a solution made from your own blood. It is the liquid portion of the blood (plasma) separated from the red and white blood cells with a higher than normal concentration of platelets. PRP contains growth factors and fibrinogen to help control inflammation and heal the body from injury. Growth factors in platelet rich plasma also attract, increase, and activate the number of stem cells in the treatment area.

Bone marrow concentrate (BMC): Bone marrow is the tissue inside your bones that creates blood cells. It contains stem cells and many other cells involved in healing. Injections of BMC taken from a large bone in your body can be used to control pain, treat damaged tissue, and improve function.

Viscosupplementation: Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally occurring in the body that attracts moisture to lubricate the tissues. When injected into the joint to treat chondromalacia patellae, it provides lubrication for the joint, reducing friction, inflammation, and pain.

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