Chondromalacia Patella (cont.)
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Chondromalacia Patella Treatment
Initially, managing pain involves avoiding motions or activities that irritate cartilage under the kneecap. Ice packs and antiinflammatory medications (for examples, ibuprofen [Advil/Motrin] or naproxen [Aleve]) can also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.
The primary goal for treatment and rehabilitation of chondromalacia patella is to create a straighter pathway for the patella to follow during quadriceps contraction. Selective strengthening of the inner portion of the quadriceps muscle will help normalize the tracking of the patella. Cardiovascular conditioning can be maintained by stationary bicycling (low resistance but high rpms), pool running, or swimming (flutter kick). Reviewing any changes in training prior to developing chondromalacia patella pain, as well as examining running shoes for proper biomechanical fit, are critical to avoid repeating the painful cycle. Generally, full-squat exercises with weights are avoided. Occasionally, bracing with patellar centering devices is required. Physical therapy can be helpful to begin the strengthening program and to organize optimal exercise routines.
Stretching and strengthening the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups is critical for an effective and lasting rehabilitation of chondromalacia patella. "Quad sets" are the foundation of such a program. Quad sets are done by contraction the thigh muscles while the legs are straight and holding the contraction for a count of 10. Sets of 10 contractions are done between 15-20 times per day.
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