Can Chiropractic Help Chondromalacia Patellae (runner’s knee)?

Chondromalacia Patellae, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or commonly know as Runner’s knee is a condition that frequently occurs with sports related injuries and very active adults, but can also be associated with prolonged sitting. This condition will result in knee pain when walking up or down stairs, kneeling or squatting and sitting for extended periods of time.

Predisposing Activities: long distance running, steps, running on uneven surfaces and prolonged sitting

Predisposing Congenital Structures: High or low arches, overpronation (collapsing of the foot inward), increased Q angle of the hip

Diagnosis: Typically diagnosed based on a medical history and physical exam only. In rare cases, x-ray or other imaging to rule out other diagnoses

Anatomy behind the condition:

  • Improper tracking of the patella
  • Most common muscular imbalance leading to lateral tracking
  • Weakness of vastus medialis muscle

Treatment Options:

  • In acute stages: avoid activities that cause pain and swelling for the first 24-48 hours. Substitute with low impact activities
  • Address any predisposing activities or congenital structures
  • Ice 15-20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day
  • Diagnose particular muscular imbalance:
    • Strengthen muscles
    • Stretch tight muscles
  • Advanced soft tissue therapy to break adhesions
  • Last resort surgery
    • Arthroscopic surgery- if truly chondromalacia with fraying of retropatellar cartilage
    • Lateral release- cutting lateral retinaculum

Carone Chiropractic Center is well versed on the conservative treatments of Runner’s knee while working hand in hand with your PCP and Orthopedic surgeon. I encourage you to schedule a consultation to discuss your particular problem in detail.


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