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Sports Medicine

Grade 3 chondromalacia

12/17/2008

Question:

I`m 18 and I have grade 3 chondromalacia and I am an elite athlete. I`ve had surgery to clean up the cartilage. I also had a lateral release and an open VMO. I know that in the future I will have to have the same surgery on my other knee. My doctor said I have very little cartilage left under my patella. How will this affect me and the future of my sport.

Answer:

This question should be directed to your physician who is familiar with your situation. Ideally, the reason a person at your young age has Grade 3 chondromalacia (cartilage softening) can be identified and treated, rather than just resorting to surgery when symptoms reach sufficient severity. For example, there may be a need for correcting any muscle imbalances (tightness and/or weakness) which exist, for sports-specific technique modification, for a change in footwear, for a different training regimen, etc. Knee pain/stiffness/swelling symptoms during and after activities, as well as your performance level, should help you determine whether your condition is improving, not improving, or deteriorating.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University