Chondromalacia is a painful condition involving the kneecap, or patella.
Formerly termed chondromalacia patella, this condition also goes by the common name of “runner’s knee”.
It’s painful because the undersurface of the kneecap becomes irritated. It tracks through a groove over the femur (thigh bone) and when it rubs too much against one side or the other, the cartilage under the kneecap becomes inflamed and irritated.Cartilage is the smooth, glossy protective ‘coating’ inside of the joints.
What Does It Feel Like?
The pain of chondromalacia occurs really anytime the knee is used - especially while using stairs and running.Pain can also fire up when getting up from sitting for relatively long periods of time. It can be a sharp, grating sensation under or around the kneecap.
Pushing down and sideways on the kneecap while the leg is stretched out straight will cause pain; an x-ray probably won’t show much of anything going on (but they’re important to get with knee pain in order to rule out other conditions) but an MRI can show the inflamed cartilage.
How Do You Get It?
Most often, younger athletic people develop chondromalacia.This is in part due to recent, rapid growth of the bones and as the joints and muscles adjust to this anatomical change.It also happens as a result of overuse in any age (but still most common in teens).Females are affected by chondromalacia much more than men, primarily because their kneecaps track more laterally (to the outside of the body) than do men, due to the angle between their hips and knees (referred to as the ‘Q’ angle).Lastly, anyone that’s had a prior knee injury are a bit more susceptible to developing chondromalacia than others.
How to Fix It
The inflammation from chondromalacia will heal up with proper treatment:
Rest is the first therapy that needs to happen. Like all other injuries, continual use of the injured area will only continue to irritate it and not allow healing to take place.
Choose low-impact exercises while healing - swimming with a pull buoy, yoga, upper body aerobic machines and strength training are all great ways to maintain some fitness while healing from chondromalacia.
Physical therapy is also very important for correcting the cause of chondromalacia - by strengthening the inner muscles of the upper legs (quadriceps) this can balance out the irregular tracking that caused the problem in the first place.
Conventional medicine is quick to recommend ibuprofen and other NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) as a first line treatment.We say NO to this!Ibuprofen has a common, but never talked about side effect of slowing cartilage repair.It’s great for pain, but not healing!
We do recommend a couple of different natural medicines that will provide a gentle anti-inflammatory effect, and also promote cartilage healing.
Inflammation Relief breaks down the pain-generating chemicals your body makes in response to injury and tissue damage. It also speeds healing by improving oxygen and nutrient delivery to damaged areas.
Joint Formula contains several natural ingredients that work together to protect the joints, decrease pain, inflammation and promote cartilage regeneration.
Curcumin Reliefis made from a highly absorbable form of turmeric, one of nature’s strongest anti-inflammatories. It shuts inflammation down naturally, and without negative side effects like over the counter and prescription pain relievers.
A brief period of rest with a natural anti-inflammatory regimen will resolve acute flares of chondromalacia.Once the pain is minimized, engaging in physical therapy will help to prevent a return of symptoms.