Chondromalacia causes knee tenderness, knee pain in front of the knee, and a grating sensation in the knee. The knee pain is worst after sitting for a prolonged period of time or when getting out of a chair. The knee cartilage is affected probably from overuse, trauma and/or abnormal forces on the knee, such as a misaligned patella. Chondromalacia is treated with rest or immobilization and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain. Physical therapy, especially quadriceps strengthening and hamstring stretching may also be helpful. Surgery is beneficial if there is a problem with the alignment of the patella that cannot be corrected with therapy.
Review Date 12/16/2021
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.