Your knee is responsible for absorbing a lot of stress when you walk, jump or run. Cartilage located underneath the surface of your kneecap (patella) can sometimes be scraped or damaged during overuse, leg malposition, injury or tightness of surrounding muscles. When the under surface is irritated, Chondromalacia of the patella occurs. It is also called “Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome”. Basically, the tissues underneath your kneecap have become inflammed.
Symptoms: Usually a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee especially when walking uphill or downhill, kneeling, squatting or sitting for long periods of time with your legs bent. You may also experience a grating or grinding sensation when you straighten your leg.
When there is a flare-up, ice can help with the pain and inflammation. I have found in my practice that a common reason why Chondromalacia occurs is because of tightness of either the Vastis-medialis or Vasits-Lateralis muscle. This leads to a bio-mechanical problem where the knee does not move efficiently. Finding out which muscle needs to be strengthened and which one needs to be stretched is key. When there is an imbalance in the thigh, one muscle begins to pull your kneecap and rub against the tibia (leg). This results in cartilage damage.
Proper stretching and strengthening exercises can prevent incidence of pain and prevent further damage to the tissues.
So, who commonly gets Chondromalacia? Surprisingly, adolescents and young adults! Most likely athletes who participate in running or jumping sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball. Running can add 3-5x pounds of body weight force to the joints and Jumping can add 5 to 7x pounds. This means if you weight 200lbs, running can add 1,000 pounds of forc and jumping can add up to 1,400 pounds. That is a lot of strain to the joint and body. Over time, squatting or or climbing stairs can become quite painful and sometimes even unbearable.
Proper body mechanics is important for taking the stress out of our bodies and allowing our joints to move the way they should. Make sure you understand that this can be a repetitive injury which may take some time to heal but you can certainly get through it and even continue participating in the sport of your choice. Specific exercises along with chiropractic alignments can greatly reduce flare-ups and chronic problems.
If you are experiencing knee pain, we can help!