Have you been diagnosed with Chondromalacia Patella?
To recapitulate the anatomy of the knee, the knee is formed by the union of three bones, the thigh bone (femur), the leg bone (tibia) and the knee cap (patella). The knee- cap sits in a pulley like groove in the lower end of the thigh bone (trochlear groove). The under surface of this and the surface of the thigh bone are lined by articular cartilage. Preservation of this cartilage is responsible for the smooth gliding of the knee -cap during bending and straightening of the knee. Presently anterior knee pain is a better word for this condition. The cartilage lining instead of being smooth is roughened or can be eroded upto bone.
Pain in the front of the knee, which is worse on sitting for prolonged periods, descending or ascending stairs and rising from a squatting position. Crunching or grating in the knee. The pain can radiate to the back of the knee. Repeated swelling with out any significant injury may pose a diagnostic challenge to the clinician. There is no pain at rest.
Certain sports like athletics especially running, sailing, fencing, soccer, and football. .Trauma. .Anatomical factor include a high kneecap, which makes it easily dislocatable, a low knee cap which increases the stresses to which it is subjected and muscle weakness. .Increased inward twisting of the thigh bone (ante version) and outward twisting of the leg bone (external tibial torsion) alter the line of pull of the quadriceps tendon and subject the knee cap to stresses. .Increased Q angle. This is the angle between the line of pull of the thigh muscle tendon and the ligament patella. The normal angle is 12-18°. Muscle pull of the inner thigh muscle. This muscle can be congenitally weak or it may waste from disuse.
Four theories exist
a) Mal-alignment of the patella due to an increased Q angle, increased femoral anteversion,increased tibial torsion.
b) Tight lateral retinaculum
c) Dysplasia of the medial musculature.
d) Bio-chemical cause precipitated by mechanical damage to the proteoglycan matrix.
Diagnosis– It is done by clinical exam, MRI and arthroscopy.
Avoidance of the precipitating sport. Restriction of the activity responsible for an increase in symptoms.
R I C E (Rest, Ice, compression and elevation) are the common measures advised. Muscle building activities under the guidance of a physiotherapist. Use of patella cut out braces to support the patella. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug are used to neuralize the prostaglandins leading to articular cartilage breakdown. Further investigations like skyline views or a C T scan will reveal the status of the kneecap and the presence of maltracking of the kneecap.
An arthroscopic assessment may be advised to study the degree of damage to the cartilage. Simultaneously, the damaged cartilage can be debrided. If there is a clear cut evidence of maltracking of the patella then a lateral release is done.
In tibial tuberle transfers the bony attachment of the patellar tendon is moved medially or anteriorly to correct alignment and decrease the load on the knee cap.
After alignment has been corrected, a cartilage repair procedure will complete the task.
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