Chondromalacia-Knee Warmers for Kneecap
This is an unfortunate condition for any runner to have! This condition, Chrondromalacia is defined as: a wearing away or softening and cracking of the cartilage under the knee cap, and that results in pain and inflammation. The cartilage becomes like sandpaper because the kneecap is not moving smoothly over the knee.
What are the symptoms of this?
Pain beneath the kneecap. A soreness or a nagging discomfort. The pain can worsen over the course of a year or so and is worse after you run hills. Sometimes swelling is present and in severe cases you can feel and finally hear, grinding as the rough cartilage rubs against cartilage when the knee is flexed.
So what causes this condition?
Here are a few reasons this may develop.
Excessive pronation. That is when your arch collapses too much and your foot rotates too far inward and that in turn, may cause the kneecap to twist sideways.
Fatigued or weak quadriceps muscles. Strong quadriceps aid in the proper tracking of the kneecap while weak ones can prevent the kneecap from moving smoothly.
A muscle imbalance between weak quads and tighter hamstrings can also pull the kneecap out of its groove. Hill running, especially downhill running, can aggravate the condition as can running constantly on the same camber of the road.
OK, so I know I have this condition. What do I do now?
When weather is cold then you need to use tight fit Knee warmers-there are different type of knee warmers like Knee warmers for arthritis, cycling and for running.
In normal weather you can choice multiple options for knee warmers which keep comfortable and fit of you kneecap.
Here are a few options
Stop running for a while. (Stop groaning everyone.) Then ice the knee for about 10 to 15 minutes 2 or 3 times per day. It would be good to use a flexible gel pack that you can wrap around the knee.
You should talk to your doctor about taking aspirin three times a day for 8 to 12 weeks also. Aspirin seems to prevent further break down of cartilage. In addition that, massage the knee where it is sore. GENTLY!
Once the pain and swelling have gone, you can consider strength training for your quads. Some experts believe step downs are the way to do that. I tend to disagree. That may be too much stress for the knee.
I prefer backward walking up stairs or using a stair stepper with zero resistance. Also, it is important to stretch the hamstrings and the quads after you are warmed up. Again; GENTLY!
Another great exercise is to “run” in water. If you can get to a pool and exercise in it, great.
If all this do not work, then what? Well, you will need to see an orthopedic surgeon. They may prescribe custom made orthotics or they may suggest surgery to scrape away the rough edges.
One thing that will not work, according to the information I got, was that cortisone shots do NOT work. The problem with the shots is that you may not feel pain while you crunch away your knee to bits!