What is the chondromalacia of the knee joint?

Dear readers! Have you ever wondered why knees can hurt? Often, this is due to the development of arthritis or osteoarthritis in this area. But, not less rare disease of such area is chondromalacia – destruction of a cartilage of a knee. Chondromalacia of the knee: what is it? What are the causes of this? What symptoms accompany the disease and how to treat it? These and other issues will be highlighted in the article.

Etiology of the disease

Unfortunately, it is impossible to name the exact causes of this disease. But we can name provoking factors that contribute to its development. These include:

  • Systematic load on this department, which causes friction of the femur on the upper surface of the knee;
  • Pathological anatomical structure of the joint;
  • Decreased elasticity of the muscle fibers, which are localized in the posterior part of the femur;
  • Muscle tissue weakness in the anterior part of the femur, which causes knee instability;
  • Previous injury to the joint, for example, fracture or dislocation;
  • Age features (in older people, chondromalacia is considered a consequence of arthritis);
  • Uncomfortable shoes that a person wears. Including shoes on a flat sole.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

The initial symptom of this disease is pain syndrome. With the passage of time, a stiffness joins that is localized in the inner or outer part of the knee. Pain syndrome increases with the load on this department, for example, when running or squatting.

After the onset of the activity (movement) of the person, the painful character decreases in its intensity, and eventually disappears altogether. But still, do not overload your knees when doing physical exercises. If there is discomfort and pain in this department, the intensity of training is recommended to be reduced.

Note that pain syndrome can occur not only with exercise. So, if a person is in a sitting position for a long time, especially with bent legs in the knees, in a “squatting” position or kneeling, there may also be pain in this department.

In some cases, there is a feeling of tightness of the skin in the knee area, as well as a small swelling in the same area. Flexion and extension of the knee cause a characteristic sound, or rather, crackling.

It is very important to pay attention to, if the above-described symptoms do not disappear after a few days. In this case, it is recommended to consult a specialist.

Untimely detection and treatment of the disease can significantly complicate the process of restoring cartilage tissue. A fairly common consequence is the weakening of the quadriceps muscle of the thigh, which can lead to a complete loss of the functional capacity of the limb.

How does the doctor diagnose the disease?

First of all, the doctor conducts an examination of the knee. This is necessary to determine the ratio of knee elements, the detection of puffiness, inflammation. After a personal examination, the doctor prescribes a radiographic examination of the knee in several projections. If the situation requires it, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is performed.

Sometimes, arthroscopic examination of the knee-minimally invasive procedure may be necessary, during which the doctor introduces a probe into the joint with a camera, with which you can detect some changes in the cartilage and ligaments.

Also, the specialist determines the stage of the development of the disease, which will allow to determine the necessary treatment. Let’s look at the symptoms at each stage of the disease:

1 stage. Characterized by the appearance on the joint of soft seals, which are not painful, but deliver a person a slight discomfort, especially when palpation of the knee. Edema of the knee joint at this stage of pathology development is absent.

2 stage. At the 2nd stage there is a gap in the cartilage and a depression up to 1 cm. The intensity of the pain syndrome increases with the sharp movement of the knee. The skin in the affected area is hyperemic and swollen.

3 stage. In this period, a crack is formed with a lumen to the bone itself. The pain syndrome occurs both under load and at rest. If the disease occurs in an acute form, there are clearly expressed signs of the inflammatory process. If in chronic form, – there is severe pain and crunching at the time of movement of the joint.

4 th stage. The most severe stage, which is characterized by a strong pain syndrome and complete deformation of the joint.

What treatment does the doctor prescribe?

The disease is often treated with conservative methods. Let us consider in more detail:

  • It is recommended to wear a knee to stabilize the knee joint.
  • Carrying out physiotherapy procedures.
  • Physiotherapy. It is necessary to strengthen the femoral muscles.
  • The use of medicines prescribed by a doctor.
  • Intra-articular injection of sodium hyaluronate preparations.
  • Limitation of physical activity, which may be accompanied by the onset of pain syndrome.

In the event that conservative treatment does not bring the desired recovery, an operation, for example, arthroscopy or reconstruction, is prescribed. Under arthroscopy is understood as an operative intervention, which consists in carrying out a small incision, through which the apparatus is introduced – an arthroscope. Through the apparatus, tools are introduced, by which the areas of the damaged cartilage are excised.

The operation (reconstruction) is carried out in severe cases of the disease, during which the angle of the patella is changed and the pressure on the cartilage is eliminated.

More accurately answer such questions, which are of interest to many people, like chondromalacia of the knee joint: what are these, what are the symptoms, how to treat the disease, only a doctor can. Remember, the earlier the disease is detected, the better the prognosis will be!

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