Chondromalacia means 'softening of the gristle or joint cartilage' and usually refers to the kneecap (patella). The softening can be felt with a blunt probe during surgery.

It is not a diagnosis as such but rather a physical condition, i.e. there is softening of the joint cartilage, and it may be initiated by a number of different disorders with different causes. It is simply a stage in joint surface damage.


What are the common kneecap problems?

A quick overview of kneecap problems to help you with your research.

Chondromalacia is a term that is commonly used by health professionals – orthopedists, physical therapists, sometimes internists.

in the United States there is even an insurance code for chondromalacia (717.7) - but the fact of the matter is it’s a completely outdated term.

It is a term that was coined towards the early part of the twentieth century by German investigators who were looking at cadaveric specimens – bodies that had been donated to science – and they found that some cadaveric specimens had...

Dr Ronald Grelsamer explains why there is confusion surrounding the term 'chondromalacia'.



The etiology of chondromalacia patellae. Outerbridge RE. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1961 Nov;43-B:752-7.