Chondromalacia patellae is an orthopedic condition that refers to the breakdown of the cartilage in your kneecap. Also known as "runner's knee," chondromalacia patellae can lead to pain and immobility because when much of the cartilage breaks down, there may be insufficient cushioning between the bones and joints, causing them to rub together. While chondromalacia patellae can develop in anyone, it may be more prevalent in athletes, those with prior knee injuries, and overweight people. If you have chondromalacia patellae, your orthopedic doctor may recommend the following orthopedic treatment options.
Medication And Physical Therapy
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs are often prescribed for orthopedic conditions like chondromalacia patellae. Not only do NSAIDs relieve pain, but they also decrease joint inflammation. While other pain relief medications, such as acetaminophen, also treat joint pain, they do little to suppress joint inflammation.
To restore mobility and strengthen your knee, your orthopedic doctor may recommend outpatient physical therapy to improve range of motion, enhance circulation, and relieve pain. Your physician may recommend taking your pain medications an hour or so prior to your therapy sessions so that you can perform your exercises more comfortably.
Orthopedic Surgical Interventions
If the above conservative treatment options are ineffective in treating your chondromalacia patellae, you may be a candidate for surgery. One of the most common orthopedic procedures to treat runner's knee is arthroscopy. During this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon makes some small incisions in your knee and removes the damaged cartilage with a surgical instrument known as an arthroscope. Before your arthroscopic surgery, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. General anesthesia is typically not administered for this type of surgery, which is usually performed in an outpatient setting.
Another surgical orthopedic treatment option for chondromalacia patellae is realignment surgery. During this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon realigns your kneecap to relieve the pressure on the damaged cartilage. Realignment surgery is more invasive than arthroscopic knee surgery because it requires a larger incision.
Realignment knee surgery is also called a knee osteotomy, and in addition to runner's knee, it is also performed on people who have knee joint damage from severe arthritic conditions. Unlike arthroscopic surgery, a knee osteotomy procedure requires general anesthesia, and because of this, you need to avoid eating and drinking after midnight on the day prior to your surgery.
If you develop knee pain or joint inflammation, make an appointment with an orthopedic physician. They will perform a comprehensive examination to determine if you have chondromalacia patellae. When this condition is diagnosed and treated early in its progression, you may be less likely to develop further joint damage and decreased mobility.