What is chondromalacia patella? It literally means the cartilage (chondro) malacia (bad or soft) patella (kneecap).
The kneecap (patella) has a ridge under it that rides up and down in a groove of the leg bones. If for any reason the ridge runs up and down the side of that groove, it will slowly grind away the cartilage, causing pain whenever the kneecap “rubs you the wrong way”.
There are a number of ways to treat the issue. The easiest way is to buy a CHO PAT strap, something that controls the motion of the kneecap, so that it doesn’t slide up and down. Symptom relieved!
The cause, however, is the real issue. The patella is essentially a part of the quadriceps muscle, which has four muscle heads. Two of the muscles are straight up and down, and two of them pull obliquely, pulling the kneecap out of alignment and causing the condition. More than 90 percent of the patients I have seen exhibit a weakness of the quadriceps muscle on the inside of their knee. This muscle, called the vastus medialis, is responsible for the last 15 degrees of extension of the leg. This means that to work it out, and make it stronger, only the last 15 degrees should be worked. The easiest way to do this?
Get on the leg extension machine and lift less weight, only lifting the last little bit. Build the muscle, change the direction of the patella, and get rid of your problem! Woo Hoo!