Chondromalacia of the patella is a painful outcome of some abnormal mechanical problem with patella (kneecap) tracking.
This diagnosis has come to be defined as any condition which creates a painful kneecap. In actuality, it is a diagnosis which can only be made when obvious articular cartilage changes are seen on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or through an arthroscope.
Treatment can include icing, bracing, anti-inflammatories and a physical therapy program, which may include patellar taping for sports participation. Many patients find that specific rehabilitative exercises which teach proper tracking of the patella are extremely helpful. These exercises include straight leg raises which are focused on strengthening the group of muscles known as the quadriceps.