Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

Loading

Chondromalacia Patellae

(Patellofemoral Syndrome)

By

Frank Pessler

, MD, PhD, Braunschweig, Germany

Last full review/revision May 2019| Content last modified Jun 2019
Click here for the Professional Version
GET THE QUICK FACTS
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Topic Resources

Chondromalacia patellae is softening of the cartilage under the kneecap (patella).

Chondromalacia patellae typically develops in adolescents. Joggers are especially susceptible. The cause of chondromalacia patellae is probably a minor, repetitive injury resulting from misalignment of the kneecap. The misalignment causes the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap to grate against other bones when the knee bends.

Inside the Knee (Side View)

Inside the Knee (Side View)

Dull, aching pain is felt all around and behind the knee. There is no swelling. Climbing (especially going up or down stairs), playing certain sports, sitting for a long time, and running usually worsen the pain.

A doctor bases the diagnosis of chondromalacia patellae on the symptoms and a physical examination.

The doctor may recommend exercises to strengthen the quadriceps muscles, which straighten or extend the knee joint. Increasing knee flexibility with stretching exercises helps. Activities that worsen the pain (typically those that involve bending the knee) should be avoided. Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help relieve symptoms.

Occasionally, the undersurface of the kneecap must be smoothed with a small (about the diameter of a pencil) fiberoptic scope called an arthroscope, which allows the doctor to look inside the joint.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
ADVIL, MOTRIN IB
ALEVE, NAPROSYN
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read

Also of Interest

Videos

View All
How to Take the Temperature in an Infant or a Child
Video
How to Take the Temperature in an Infant or a Child
3D Models
View All
Kyphosis
3D Model
Kyphosis

SOCIAL MEDIA

TOP