You are here

What is chondromalacia?

Chondromalacia is a word used to describe the condition of joint cartilage when it becomes softened. Chondro=cartilage. Malacia=softened. That is all that chondromalacia means!

Unfortunately, this term was used in many publications, both on the web and in professional medical publications as if it was a discrete diagnosis, involving pain in front of the knee, difficulty with stairs, crackly noises on bending the knee and other symptoms now accepted as general symptoms of any patellar disorder.

This has caused tremendous distress for patients. They are often told that they have 'chondromalacia' and they accept this as a diagnosis and seek a specific management. But in fact their symptoms may be due to any one of the patellar disorders, and what they really need is a proper assessment of the patella, the gait, the trunk and the feet, and a proper diagnosis.

chondromalacia

In the medical literature, authors are mostly now taking care to put this term into its proper context, using it to describe the cartilage changes a surgeon may note when he examines the cartilage surfaces during arthroscopy, for example, as you see in this photograph. Such softening is also known as Grade I on the Outerbridge scale of cartilage damage, when the surgeon can 'dimple' the softened cartilage with a blunt probe. But on the internet there is still widespread misuse of the term.

Updated: 17 Apr, 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Sheila Strover

Clinical Editor
Degrees: 
BSc (Hons)
MB BCh
MBA

Dr Sheila Strover is the founder of the KNEEguru website. Although not a knee surgeon, she has a sound understanding of knee surgery and...

0 Comment(s) to the "What is chondromalacia?"

Advertisement

joinus

Advertisement


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Popular
  • Tags
This is a clinical text written by experts for experts, and has over 500 pages of well-indexed deta...
Friday, January 23, 2015 - 11:53am
Adductor canal nerve blocks are traditionally used for pain management for procedures of the medial...
Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 1:16pm
Authors: Frank Noyes and Sue Barber-Westin e-Book Review This e-book is from two knee experts, writ...
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - 5:15pm
These are strengthening exercises for the quadriceps muscle - Sit on a firm surface with the back w...
Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - 3:45pm
Adductor canal nerve blocks are traditionally used for pain management for procedures of the medial ankle....
Saturday, January 17, 2015 - 1:16pm
Previous articles and videos relating to the procedure of arthroscopic trochleoplasty can be found on this...
Sunday, December 28, 2014 - 7:30pm
Hello I really wanted to add my story to the site!  I have read many helpful stories about knee surgeries...
Friday, December 5, 2014 - 1:45am
So after completely tearing the anterior cruciate ligament of my left knee, I underwent ACL Reconstruction...
Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 8:08am
This phase is immediately after injury or surgery. Focus is on: wound management protecting the lim...
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 7:32pm
The back of the knee is called the 'popliteal' region of the knee. The depression in the middle of...
Sunday, June 29, 2008 - 9:43am
In Parts One (Patellofemoral Anatomy) and Two (Important Patellofemoral Concepts) of this course I...
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 - 7:55pm
The objectives of knee rehabilitation are: to protect the joint in the early stages from further me...
Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 6:25pm
-A A +A

Word of the Day

Surgical rebuilding of a limb that is distorted by injury, birth defect or disease, using techniques such as osteotomy and distraction callotasis (stretching out the bone).

User login