2. Chondromalacia Patella
Chondromalacia patella refers to the softening and breakdown of the cartilage on the underside of the kneecap or patella. It is one of the common causes of knee pain, especially in women. Chondromalacia patella is caused by misalignment, or improper tracking, of the patella as it slides over the thighbone (femur). The most common symptom is a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee behind the kneecap, which can be exacerbated by prolonged sitting.
Potential causes of the condition include muscle imbalances such as tightness in the iliotibial band and weakness in the quadriceps or hip rotator muscles. Physical therapy is a mainstay of treatment for chondromalacia patella and incorporates stretching and strengthening of the offending muscle imbalance, which most commonly occurs in the quadriceps muscle. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications may also be used to reduce inflammation and pain. The prognosis, or outlook for recovery, for chondromalacia patella is excellent.