Back to Top

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
  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Popular
  • Tags
  This talk is about putting knee anatomy into context. Although it is very easy nowadays to find i...
Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 12:29pm
In patients who suffer from recurrent dislocation of the kneecap (patella) a common contributing fa...
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 9:58am
There is a revealing discussion on the KNEEguru bulletin board about how having a bad knee problem...
Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 1:34am
Some unfortunate knee patients find their progress with rehabilitation frustrated by issues related...
Friday, January 17, 2014 - 9:01pm
I suffered a major knee injury (and a broken femur, tibia, fibula, ankle and a ruptured spleen and kidney)...
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 7:37am
In patients who suffer from recurrent dislocation of the kneecap (patella) a common contributing factor is...
Sunday, February 23, 2014 - 9:58am
This has seemed like a long process to get to where I am and unfortunately feel I still have a long way to...
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 1:19am
There is a revealing discussion on the KNEEguru bulletin board about how having a bad knee problem can put a...
Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 1:34am
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
This phase is immediately after injury or surgery. Focus is on: wound management protecting the lim...
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 7:32pm
Exercise bikes, static bikes, stationary cycles, bicycle ergometers - these are all names for the b...
Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 3:04pm
After going through the procedure of knee replacement surgery it can be devastating for the patient...
Saturday, March 22, 2008 - 1:02pm

Advertisement

-A A +A

Word of the Day

Coefficient of friction is a measure of the 'slipperiness' of something, for example the cartilage at the end of bone.

User login