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How to diagnose chondromalacia? What's the next step?

Chondromalacia: Diagnosis and Treatment for Beginners.

chondromalacia,knee, patella, runner's knee, physical therapy

Chondromalacia is a condition in which the patellar cartilage, originally a hard and dense structure, undergoes thinning and softening, resembling a sponge. The consequence of such a state is a reduction in the cartilage's resilience, making it more prone to damage, but not necessarily causing pain.

Why not necessarily pain?

Pain symptoms arise only when the nerve receptors are irritated, and articular cartilage... is not innervated. Pain from the chondromalacia area can be generated only when the damage reaches the subchondral layer – which is richly innervated.

Grading based on the severity of cartilage damage:

#1 - Softening of the cartilage in the knee area

#2 - Softening of the cartilage along with abnormal surface characteristics, indicating the beginning of tissue erosion

#3 - Thinning of cartilage with active deterioration of the tissue

#4 - Exposure of the bone with a significant portion of cartilage deteriorated (the most severe grade)

What's the next step?

Firstly, verify any possible training errors in lower limb loading patterns (if you are active), address imbalances in the hip, knee, and foot areas, incorporate appropriate movement and physical activity (if you are not active), and apply self-therapy such as foam rolling the anterior fascial chain (including the quadriceps muscle).

Secondly, eliminate all potential global factors—evaluate diet, overall movement patterns.

Visit TheraPhysical office to get a comprehensive outlook on your problem.

Do you have any questions? Comment down below.

Hope to see you soon!

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