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Chondromalacia Patellae and Physiotherapy

Chondromalacia patellae (abbreviated to CMP) usually referred to 'soft cartilage under the knee cap', and it tends to affect young and healthy athletes/active individuals.

causes of chondromalacia patellae

The main cause of chondromalacia patellae is simple the irritation beneath kneecap surface.

Usually, the cartilage under the kneecap glides smoothly and without kinks, but in some individuals, the knee cap may rub/friction against side of the knee joint, leading to irritation and inflammation in the cartilage surface.

Gradually, pain will develop.

The thing is, pain in and under the knee caps is pretty common in young adults, especially with individuals who play soccer, who enjoys cycling/rowing/volleyball/marathon/runners/ballet dancers/dancers/etc.

Chondromalacia patellae pain is usually experienced after a period of resting/immobility e.g. after sitting in for a meal/drink/movie, then trying to stand.

Skateboarders  also often get chondromalacia patellae injury and pain in their non-dominant leg because of the way skateboarding is: constant kicking and twisting motion that the non-dominant legs has to go through during skateboarding (same for Muay Thai/kicking/soccer etc)

But of course, this condition can also be caused by direct or indirect traumatic force, like

  • an acute injury e.g. a fall, vehicle accident or a hit, or
  • by long term pressure at the patella and the femoral groove where it passes during motion of the knee flexion-extension (running, sprinting, cycling, ball games etc).

Some other possible causes and aggravators of chondromalacia patellae pain may be

  • iliotibial band (ITB) tightness
  • weak or unstable core muscles
  • misalignment of the knee
  • traumatic forces
  • neuromas

chondromalacia patellae physiotherapy

Physiotherapy interventions during the acute phase:

  • getting the patient to rest the painful/injured knee as much as possible,
  • applying cold packs (cold therapy)
  • compression + elevation to decrease inflammation, swelling and pain
  • on top of their pain and anti-inflammatory medication from the physician.

After the acute stage and as the swelling and pain subsides, our senior physiotherapists will start active physiotherapy intervention doing

  • joint manipulation and mobilization
  • deep tissue release and stretching
  • scar tissue management
  • strength training
  • ultrasound therapy to accelerate soft tissue healing
  • gradually progress to sports/life-specific exercises

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Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.


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All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

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