Runner's Knee

Patellar Chondromalacia

Runner's Knee Treatment in Dallas

Chondromalacia patellae, also known as “runner’s knee,” is a physical condition common among young adults but is also found in older adults who have knee arthritis. Runner’s knee is essentially where the cartilage on the undersurface of the patella, or kneecap, deteriorates and softens.

In Dallas and Frisco, our best orthopedic surgeons in Dallas of SPORT Orthopedics + Physical Therapy see hundreds of patients with Chondromalacia patellae or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome each year. Treatments for Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or Runner’s Knee, is typically treated with physical therapy but may require surgery, in certain cases. Many times the procedure can be done using knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive approach that involves inserting tools and a tiny camera through a small incision, which enables our surgeons to repair the injury.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome FAQs

Patellofemoral Syndrome comes from poorly aligned knee joints, trauma, or overuse and can cause an abundance of pain in the knee. Patellofemoral Syndrome is more commonly known as Runner’s Knee or Chondromalacia Patellae.

Runners Knee can cause pain and loss of function, if not treated properly. Once you have been diagnosed with Runners Knee, however, it can be treated with rest, knee bracing, medications, and physical therapy. In certain situations, surgery may be necessary.

The cartilage underneath your kneecap begins to soften and degenerates. This can happen over time and is increased by overuse, abnormally aligned knee structures, or trauma.

We associate many sports as contributors for runners knee. Runners knee can also cause arthritic changes.

Only your doctor can answer this. Seeing a sports medicine doctor or orthopedic surgeon will be your best choice for a speedy runners knee recovery. Dr. Berry will order an X-ray to check knee alignment and evaluate arthritic changes.  In some cases, your he may order a CAT scan or MRI to evaluate the tracking of the patella or to better see the cartilage surfaces.

Runners Knee Symptoms

After long periods of sitting or inactivity, the pain in the knee may increase. You may also notice an increase in pain during certain activities, such as using stairs, kneeling, or squatting.

Patients often complain that their knee “grinds” when they straighten it.

How to Treat Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

With runners knee treatments, the ultimate goal is to relieve pain. Another goal is to  restore motion and function of the knee. Dr. Berry may implement a variety of options in order to achieve these goals. You'll need to rest and avoid harsh activities, until your knee heals.

How to Heal Runner's Knee

  • RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to help these times of tears.
  • Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles that moves the knee joint.
  • In certain cases, Dr. Berry may recommend a knee brace for sports or custom shoe inserts to support the arch of the foot.

Like most accidents and surgeries, the recovery from Runners Knee varies depending on the individual and on a variety of factors, including the cause and the treatment method you receive. Dr. Berry will let you know what to expect.

You can prevent Runners Knee by:

  • keeping your thigh muscles strong and limber
  • using shoe inserts recommended by Dr. Berry or your physical therapist
  • avoiding runs on hard surfaces, such as concrete
  • staying in shape and keeping a healthy weight

Those with a chondromalacia diagnosis can still lead healthy lives. Early treatment can help prevent further irritation or damage to the cartilage. With the proper chondromalacia treatment, many can get relief and do many of his or her favorite activities again.

Dr. Berry may recommend surgery if your knee has a malalignment. This surgery corrects the position of the kneecap.

In most cases requiring surgery, Dr. Berry will recommend arthroscopic surgery, as it can be used to realign the patella, in certain cases, and to remove damaged cartilage.

The majority of medical professionals prefer Arthroscopic surgery because it is less invasive. It’s also associated with a lot less pain, swelling, infection, and bleeding. This type of surgery also has a faster recovery time than open surgery.

However, in some cases, the kneecap cannot be realigned via arthroscopic surgery. Dr. Berry will come up with a game plan and discuss which type of surgery is best for your knee injury.

Knee Anatomy

The knee is one of the more structurally complex areas of the body. The knee is composed of three bones:

  • The Tibia, or shinbone
  • The Femur, or thighbone, sits on top of the tibia, the larger leg bone.
  • The Patella, or kneecap, glides in a groove on the end of the femur.

Large muscle groupings in the thigh give the knee its strength and stability:

  • The quadriceps muscles-group of muscles on the front of the thigh that straighten and rotate the leg.
  • The hamstring muscles- located on the back of the thigh and bend or flex the knee.

Ligaments are strong tissues that provide stability and allow the leg to move. They also enable flexibility while maintaining balance. Four ligaments connect our knee bones together:

  • The medial collateral is located on the inside of the knee, and the lateral collateral is at the outer side of the knee. These two ligaments help the joint to resist side to side stress.
  • The anterior cruciate ligament and the posterior cruciate ligament cross each other inside of the knee joint. These ligaments help to keep the joint aligned. They also counteract forward and backward forces and keep the bones in place. They also control rotation of the tibia.

Two cartilage disks, Menisci, are located on the end of the tibia. This cartilage forms a smooth surface, allowing the bones to glide easily during motion. The menisci act as shock absorbers when we walk or run.

A smooth tissue capsule covers the bones in our knee, and a thin synovial membrane lines this capsule. The synovium secretes a liquid known as synovial fluid. The synovial fluid acts as a cushion and lubricant between the joints, which allows the knee to move painlessly. Proprioceptive nerve fibers are inside in the ligaments and joint capsules, sending signals throughout the body.

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