Understanding Runner’s Knee & How To Treat It

If you’ve ever experienced a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee, especially after a run, you might be dealing with chondromalacia patella, commonly known as runner’s knee.

This condition is a frequent complaint among athletes, particularly runners, and can significantly impact your training and daily activities.

What is Chondromalacia Patella?

Chondromalacia patella refers to the softening and breakdown of the cartilage on the underside of the patella (kneecap). This cartilage is crucial for smooth, pain-free movement as it helps the kneecap glide over the femur (thigh bone) when you bend and straighten your knee. When this cartilage deteriorates, it can lead to pain, inflammation, and difficulty with knee movement.

Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to the development of runner’s knee, including:

  1. Overuse: Repetitive stress on the knee joint from activities like running, jumping, or squatting can wear down the cartilage.
  2. Poor Alignment: Misalignment of the kneecap or issues with the way your foot strikes the ground can lead to uneven pressure on the knee.
  3. Muscle Imbalance: Weakness or imbalance in the muscles around the knee, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings, can alter kneecap movement.
  4. Injury: Direct trauma to the kneecap, such as a fall or a blow, can damage the cartilage.
  5. Age: Cartilage naturally wears down with age, increasing the risk of chondromalacia patella.


The hallmark symptom of chondromalacia patella is a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee, often aggravated by activities that put pressure on the joint, such as:

  • Running or jogging
  • Walking up or down stairs
  • Squatting or kneeling
  • Sitting with bent knees for prolonged periods

Some people may also experience a grinding or clicking sensation when moving the knee.


To diagnose chondromalacia patella, a detailed clinical evaluation will be performed. Diagnosis can be confirmed with ultrasound or MRI if necessary.

Treatment Options

Chondromalacia patella, or runner’s knee, is a common yet manageable condition. With the right approach to treatment and prevention, you can alleviate symptoms and continue to enjoy your favorite activities without knee pain. If you’re experiencing persistent knee pain, please call us for consultation.

We have developed an efficient program of evaluation and treatment. We will diagnose the pathology accurately. Initial treatment can be with the rest, ice, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medication. However, if that treatment fails, more effective management is needed.

We have developed a treatment protocol for quick and effective recovery. We utilize the most advanced and effective techniques to balance and strengthen the muscles that support the knee, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings and core. Loss of cartilage and inflammation, can be managed with safe, effective non-surgical technique, such as ESWT (shockwave/acoustic wave therapy) and EMTT(magnetic transaction therapy).

If necessary, in addition to this treatment, regenerative injection can also be performed with ultrasound guidance.

The combination of these therapies produces quick and effective resolution.