Chondromalacia Patella also known as Runner’s Knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is a type of arthritis that affects mainly the knee joint.

Chondromalacia is a combination of two medical Greek words. Chondro means cartilage and malacia meaning softening. From this etymology, we can derive a basic understanding of Chondromalacia Patella. It is an arthritic disease that is characterized by softening and destruction of the cartilage, tendon and surrounding soft tissue in the knee joint.


The available consensus on the etiological factors of Chondromalacia Patella are still lacking in consistency No one particular cause is yet to be definitively attributed to cause arthritis in Chondromalacia Patella. However, it is agreed by many clinicians that Chondromalacia Patella is a multi-factorial disease of arthritis.

The factors that contribute to the development of arthritis in Chondromalacia Patella are based on the pressure impacted on the cartilaginous structures in the knee joint. These include:

  • Trauma
  • Joint overuse especially in athletes
  • Odd-facet syndrome
  • Abnormal femoral ridge
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Misaligned track and small kneecaps especially in women


A person suffering from Chondromalacia Patella tends to develop a slow course of arthritis. Some may tend to start exhibiting symptoms of arthritis long after the risk/etiological factor has occurred.

Chondromalacia Patella presents with monoarticular and asymmetric arthritis. It is a recurring type of arthritis. The rest of the clinical picture is described as:

  • Pain on flexing or extending the knee joint
  • Pain is typically dull at the beginning then becomes grinding depending on the degree of cartilage destruction
  • The knee is tender to touch
  • Some swelling is expected
  • A person may complain that the pain gets worse on standing from a chair, climbing stairs or even just sitting for prolonged periods of time


Since Chondromalacia Patella is a recurring type of arthritis, it is important to find an orthopedic specialist with the experience and expertise in managing this disease. Dr. Burke, our attending orthopedic surgeon, is highly recommended. He is a refined orthopedician.  He offers reassurance when it is required and is an expert in delivering stem cell therapy in patients with Chondromalacia Patella.

Other therapeutic methods include:

  • NSAIDs
  • Wraps
  • Braces
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery i.e. lateral reticular release as well as other reconstructive techniques.