Your patella or kneecap protects the cartilage and tendons of your knee. Chondromalacia patella is when one of your kneecaps is afflicted with deteriorating cartilage. If you have knee pain, seek out chondromalacia patella treatment from NYC sports injury doctor and pain specialist. Chondromalacia patellae is when both kneecaps are affected. Don’t wait; make an appointment with the best rated knee specialist in New York, get treatment for chondromalacia patella.
From the running track to the basketball court to a stroll through Midtown Manhattan, you wouldn’t get anywhere without healthy, pain-free knees. When knee pain hits, it makes every facet of your life harder to manage. One common source of knee pain is chondromalacia patella. Put simply, it’s the breakdown of cartilage under your kneecap — the patella — causing discomfort due to the resulting friction between your leg bones.
While chondromalacia patella often strikes athletes, especially runners, it can affect just about anyone. Even if you’re not an athlete, a visit to a New York City sports medicine clinic is the first step toward diagnosis, treatment, and relief of this troublesome knee pain. The pain from chondromalacia patella is worse than the pain from bursitis or tendonitis.
Understanding Chondromalacia Patella
The kneecap, or patella, is just what it sounds like: a small, curved, cap of bone that covers the joint where your leg bones meet. It’s cushioned by cartilage, allowing your knee to bend smoothly and easily. The cartilage provides a layer of protection between the bones.
When the cartilage below your patella wears away, it allows the patella to scrape against your thigh bone, or femur. As the cartilage deteriorates, the pain and discomfort in your knees gets worse. You might experience chondromalacia patella in one knee or in both knees.
Signs and Symptoms
Chondromalacia patella doesn’t usually have any visible signs, although you may notice that your kneecap looks a little off as it slips to the side. Other symptoms of chondromalacia patellae include:
- Pain in one or both knees while walking or running, especially when going up or down stairs
- Knee pain that strikes as you straighten your knees, especially after you’ve been sitting in a chair for some time or when you stand after squatting on the floor
- A grinding or cracking sensation under your kneecap as you move your knee
- Pain in your knees after standing for a long time or otherwise bearing weight on one or both legs
- A general feeling of fullness, tightness or vague discomfort under and around your kneecap
- Mild swelling, although this is less common
Occasionally, chondromalacia patella can cause your knee to give out, resulting in a loss of balance or a fall. Seeking treatment for chondromalacia patella, even if the pain seems relatively minor, can help protect your overall well-being.
Athletes are most at risk for developing chondromalacia patellae. If you play sports that involve running, jumping or other repeated impacts to the knees, you may eventually need chondromalacia patella treatment. There are, however, other risk factors for developing the condition, such as:
- Experiencing an impact injury such as a fall
- Being overweight
- Being female, for some reason, as women develop chondromalacia patella more frequently than men do, and teenage girls are especially susceptible
- Having flat feet, or any other congenital condition that causes the bones of the legs to be out of alignment
Diagnosing Chondromalacia Patellae
When you visit your Manhattan sports doctor’s office in search of a diagnosis, your physician performs a thorough examination of your knees. The doctor feels your kneecap and the surrounding area, manipulates the joint to see when and how the discomfort presents itself and takes an inventory of your symptoms and medical history. Often, that’s enough to make the diagnosis.
If further information is needed or prior treatments have been unsuccessful, your doctor may order further tests, including:
- A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test
- Blood testing
Treatment for Chondromalacia Patella
Chondromalacia patella treatment usually starts with prevention and pain management. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and topical analgesic creams can ease the immediate pain. Your NYC pain specialist recommends that you rest your knee and apply an ice pack to help reduce the swelling and discomfort.
With treatment, most people recover from chondromalacia patella. In extreme cases, surgery is a last option to resurface your kneecap, release ligament tension or change the placement of muscles to allow greater ease of movement. But for the most part, taking preventative action can help ensure that you’re stepping live through life without pain:
- Consider changing your exercise routine to one that minimizes impact to your knees and emphasizes stretching.
- Do strength-building exercises to build up the muscles surrounding the joint so the kneecap stays in place.
- Attend physical therapy to learn new ways to stay in shape and keep your knees aligned.
- Wear arch supports or custom orthotic inserts to help align your bones and reduce the pain of chondromalacia patella as you trek around Manhattan.
- Tape your knee for additional support before playing sports.
- Eat a healthy diet and consider losing weight if obesity is a contributing factor.
Do you have any questions about the chondromalacia patella treatment we offer in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with the best rated knee pain doctor Febin Melepura MD of sports pain management clinic in NYC? Please contact our office for consultation with the top pain relief specialist in Midtown Manhattan.