Chondromalacia patellae is an overuse syndrome of the articular cartilage of the patella. The condition is caused by patellofemoral malalignment, which leads to a tracking abnormality of the patella, placing excessive lateral pressure on the articular cartilage. It is most common in young, active women and the pain is generally localized to the region of the anterior knee. Stair climbing and rising from a chair exacerbate the pain.
Two tests may aid in the diagnosis. The patellar compression test is performed by pushing the patella distal in the trochlear groove with the knee extended and quadriceps muscles tightened. This maneuver illicits pain. The apprehension test is performed on a relaxed leg. When the patella is pushed laterally, the quadriceps muscles contract in anticipation of pain. Treatment of this condition consists of rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and quadriceps strengthening
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