How is runner’s knee treated?
The mainstay of treatment for patella chondromalacia is non-operative management. For patients in Vail, Aspen and the surrounding Denver, Colorado communities, Dr. Vidal recommends a conservative approach when treating chondromalacia. His goal is to optimize your knee biomechanically and biologically as well as manage your load before considering surgical intervention. Biologic and biomechanical optimization can include:
- RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
- Anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce swelling around the joint
- Physical Therapy – Probably the most important part of non-surgical treatment, physical therapy can strengthen the muscles, especially the hip muscle to take some of the stress off the kneecap.
- Bracing – The use of a stabilizing knee brace is effective for helping the knee to move correctly.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory injections – Indicated in some cases to reduce swelling of the joint.
- Biologic injections (PRP/Stem Cell)
Surgical treatment for patella chondromalacia is only reserved for patients who have failed non-operative management or have mechanical symptoms so severe that they are unable to progress with PT.
Surgical decision making requires a comprehensive assessment of the contributing factors. Surgery can range from a simple arthroscopic procedure called a chondroplasty where the rough surfaces are simply smoothed out – to more complex realignment and cartilage restoration procedures.