While chondromalacia is a common condition among people of all ages, many people don’t know much about it and its connection to osteoarthritis – one of the most common knee conditions we treat at AROmotion. While osteoarthritis most often impacts adults 45 years of age and older, chondromalacia is a painful condition that can impact younger adults and teenagers who overuse their knee joints. To further explain this common condition, its causes, and its relationship to osteoarthritis, we sat down with Dr. Robert Dean, founder of AROmotion, to get the facts.
Chondromalacia is a very common condition, yet many people aren’t familiar with the term. Can you help explain what it is and why it’s so common?
Chondromalacia is the medical term to describe the thinning or wearing down of hyaline cartilage, which is the hard, slick coating that prevents bones from grinding against each other. While this can happen in any major joint, it’s most commonly seen in the knee because it’s a joint that is frequently overused. This is why chondromalacia can occur in younger patients, specifically those who engage in exercise and sports that put repeated stress on the knee.
How is chondromalacia related to arthritis?
If chondromalacia is not diagnosed and treated, it can eventually lead to osteoarthritis which is a more complex condition to treat. So, it’s very important to see your doctor immediately is you are having joint pain from injury or overuse to develop a treatment plan which can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, braces or compression devices, physical therapy, and in extreme cases, surgery.
What can patients who have been diagnosed with chondromalacia due to help manage the condition in addition to any prescribed medications and therapies?
The key to managing chondromalacia is consistency. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications, strengthening, and exercise. Then, patients can ice the affected area several times a day to help reduce pain and inflammation. If the knee is the affected area, talk to your doctor about taping your knee for optimal alignment so you can continue to walk and exercise while reducing impact. Finally, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight – especially if the knee is the affected area – and to balance movement with rest so your body has time to heal.
What is the outlook for patients who develop osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in America, especially among older adults. Once diagnosed, there are different treatment options available based on the severity of the arthritis in the affected joint. In less severe cases, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to control the inflammation along with an exercise or physical therapy routine. In more severe cases, total joint replacement surgery may be recommended.
That seems like a pretty big void in between the two scenarios. What happens if a patient is treating osteoarthritis with medication and exercise, but it still worsens over time?
Yes, there has been a significant void for patients managing joint pain! Even when following your doctor’s plan for management, it can worsen to the point where the pain become debilitating and surgery is recommended. The good news is that I created AROmotion specifically to fill this void. Our groundbreaking non-surgical procedure stops joint pain fast, promotes healing in the affected area, and strengthens the joint for long-term results.
What’s your top piece of advice for patients managing chondromalacia?
Listen to your doctors! Chondromalacia is a very common condition and it can be treated before it turns into osteoarthritis. Then, it’s all about prioritizing self-care. We live in a world where it often feels difficult to slow down and stop our activities, but it’s essential to rest the affected area so you can heal.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and want to avoid the complications of total joint replacement surgery, you can complete the form below to request your free consultation with Dr. Dean to see if you are a candidate for AROmotion which has helped more than 2,000 patients stop their joint pain fast without surgery.