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Chondromalacia Patella Exercises

Chondromalacia patella is among the most common causes of chronic knee pain. It results from abnormal contact between the knee cap and thigh bone. Over time the cartilage under the knee cap becomes softened and irritated, resulting in pain. Intelligent exercise choices can be helpful to prevent further damage and begin restoration of pain-free function.


The deadlift and its variations can be performed with chondromalacia patella when done correctly, as the shin remains vertical and reduces the contact pressure between the knee cap and thigh bone. The exercise also recruits the powerful gluteal muscles, which control the femur during. Perform the exercise first while elevated in a rack for three to seven sets with a weight you can move between three and six times.

Box Squat

The box squat is performed with the feet spread wide apart and the shins perpendicular to the floor throughout the exercise. With a bar across your shoulders, push your hips back to a box between 12 and 20 inches in height. Tap the box gently, and stand back up. This allows the hips to be loaded without loading the knee excessively. Perform the exercise sitting to a progressively lower box for two to four sets of five to eight repetitions.

Hip External Rotation

Individuals with chondromalacia patella tend to have significantly weaker hip rotator muscles than those without pain. Improve the strength of your hip rotators using the external rotation. Lie on your side with you knees bent to 90 degrees and hips flexed about 60 degrees. Keep your heels together and pelvis perpendicular to the floor and lift your top knee from the ground. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions and perform two to three sets.


Pain in the front of the knee is not always chondromalacia patella and can be a sign of more serious injury. Work with a qualified healthcare provider to ensure proper diagnosis, exercise selection and treatment.

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About the Author

A writer since 2004, Carson Boddicker has been published in the "Arizona Daily Sun" and on, and Currently he is editing his first academic paper on functional movement and injury likelihood. Boddicker is pursuing a double bachelor's degree in medical biology and sports physiology from Northern Arizona University.

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