The WAITING ROOM => GENERAL KNEE QUESTIONS and comments (good for new threads) => Topic started by: KiwiGirl on September 24, 2004, 07:35:41 AM

Title: What is a Femoral Chondral Lesion?
Post by: KiwiGirl on September 24, 2004, 07:35:41 AM
Hi -
I had a fall April this year and a plank fell on my knee.  My knee swelled up, and 2 weeks later was either locking or gaving way on me.  (Made carrying my 2 mth old baby a real fear).
I went to a specialist and knee was aspirated twice and 2 x cortisones - I can only walk (I used to run marathons and cycle), cant kneel etc and constantly aware of pain.
I had an MRI one month ago - my specialist was on holiday and still has not got back to me with results.  I did however call my doctor and she told me I have a lateral femoral chondral lesion?
Can anyone give me more info on what a lateral femoral chondral lesion is?
Title: Re: What is a Femoral Chondral Lesion?
Post by: Heather M. on September 24, 2004, 09:07:58 AM
Femoral Chondral Lesion.  This means you have damage  to the cartilage that covers the very bottom of your thigh bone.  You know when a cartoon dog has a bone and it's got the knuckle looking things at each end?  Those are condyles.  What does all this mean?  Well, it's important to know the degree of damage that you have.

Here is a link that explains pretty much all you could ever want to know about chondral lesions, also known as damaged articular cartilage.  (Keep in mind the cartilage that you have damaged on your leg is different from the cartilage that people are talking about when they say "I tore the cartilage in my knee."  That cartilage is also called the meniscus.)

I know there are lots of confusing words and phrases, expressions and possibilities.  It's best to wait until you see your doctor, but you can read up on chondral damage on a couple of great web pages.  

To start, go up to the general info link at the top of this page and read about knee anatomy.  Here's the link:


Where it says 'femur' on the illustration, that's the area that you have apparently damaged, right at the bottom.  In fact, the line that says 'cruciates' on it in the drawing is pretty much where your damage is--that is the femoral condyle.  Your damage is on the outside, so as you stand and look down at your knee, the damage you have is on the outer part, the side of the knee.  The inner part would be medial femoral condyle

After you have 'boned up' on knee anatomy, read some of these other links in the general info section:  Read up about chondromalacia and articular cartilage damage.  Depending on how severe it is, yours damage may technically fall into the category of arthritis.   It doesn't *sound* like that's your case, otherwise the radiologist would have said osteochondral lesion, but you might want to read up on it anyway so you are aware of the terms and potential issues.  Don't get too stuck on the term arthritis, and keep in mind that your damage would only be osteoarthritis if it went all the way through the articular cartilage and down into the underlying bone.  But it's good to know the terms and be familiar with them.

Also, read up on chondromalacia in the general info section above.  Chondromalaci just means damaged articular cartilage--the damage is expressed as softening, cracking, pieces coming off, etc.  Chondromalacia usually occurs due to overuse or bad knee mechanics (my knee), but can also be the result of a sharp blow to the knee.  Imagine that you are hammering a nail into a plank of wood.  If you miss the nail with your hammer, you will hit the wood with it and likely gouge a divot of it right out.  That is what may have happened in your situation.  You may have displaced a divot of articular cartilage; it may still be in its correct place, just offset by a tiny amount.  Or it could be hanging a bit above the surrounding articular cartilage, creating roughness and catching.  This can lead to irritation, swelling, and pain.  Keep in mind also that most people develop chondral damage as they age--it's part of the normal wear and tear as we get older.  The articular cartilage is meant to be worn down, just like tires on your car.

A great resource to give you the scoop from A-Z in very easy language and all in one place is this one (be sure to read through all five tabs):

Read through all six links.  Then you may want to go down on this bulletin board to the patello-femoral joint section, where most of the people with chondromalacia post actively.  It's a topic with lots of traffic.  Less traffic goes on in the very bottom section of the board, but it goes over arthritis, supplements, surgeries, and medical options.  Depending on your age, activity level, and the degree of damage you have, there are about half a dozen things your doctor could recommend.  You'll find an overview of them in the chondral defect link I posted above.

Good luck and feel free to ask any questions in this section or any other.  

Title: Re: What is a Femoral Chondral Lesion?
Post by: KiwiGirl on September 24, 2004, 10:29:34 AM
Thanks Heather ::)

Really appreciate the time you spent in posting your reply.