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Stretch Therapy for Knee Chondramalacia


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Hi All,

I have a serious problem with Chondramalacia under my left knee cap diagnosed 2 years ago by MRI.

I cannot walk up or down stairs, squat, cycle, swim, or even get in and out of the car without noticable pain lasting several minutes. If I persist, the pain worsens. Therefore, I have a much more sedentary lifestyle than I would like. I cannot wrestle or play with my son normally, or do any of the sports I used to do.

Historically, the problem might have started with a knee injury suffered when a big guy fell on top of me while practicing a takedown drill in 2008. My left leg was bent and to the side, there was a loud POP, and I could not extend (or maybe it was bend, I can't remember) for about a month. Eventually, knee seemed to return to normal.

By late 2010, I noticed about 5 days of pain after skipping rope for maybe 15 minutes.

There were quad tears on rectus femoris October-December 2011, dx of left hip OA february 2011, and a "hot" kneecap by summer 2011. Doing PT for the left hip in October-November 2011 showed up more pain in the left knee, using a warm up bicycle or bridging, for example. Pain was intermittent for the next year or two.

Fortunately, by about March 2013, the left knee chondramalacia became 100% pain free doing regular activities! Calve raises; leg curls; double leg squats with ball behind the back helped. But following Kit's advice with anti-pronation calf raises PLUS Single Leg Squats really sealed the deal.

But most unfortunately, I followed my sports doctors advice to have 3 Synvisc injections over April-May, in order to get me on an exercise bike. Problem was that I still could not really swim or bike or do cardio exercise at that time. My sports doc, the famous Dr. Galea, did NOT tell me until the injections had started that I would have to lay off ALL lower body strength exercises for a full 6 weeks after the 3rd Synvisc injection!

I never was able to regain the previous results of the SLS's and anti-pronation exercises. About one month after the injections, by June 2013, I could not even go up and down stairs without a lot of pain, and presumably further damage, under the knee cap.

Today, 14 months after the Synvisc, I still have to go down stairs typically on my buttox or take an elevators. If I MUST squat, I go up and down on my right leg, which of course presents new problems.

I just wish someone could give me some advice, maybe help me design an exercise program for this. Of course I've seen therapists, spending a couple thousand dollars, but nothing has helped. I am certainly not about to mix therapies or follow more than one set of recommendations but I AM open to the Stretch Therapy approach exclusively, if it can help at this stage.

Positively, using a pointy roller does sometimes loosen up all the tissues above the left knee and provide significant relief. At times, no doubt tightness among these tissues causes some of the problem with the left knee pain.

I do a slew of exercises for my lower body that do not cause harm and seem to help a bit. Glute max, Glue med, Electro Stim on VMO, I do.

If it were possible to get a direct assessment in Toronto from Kit, I would do it.

Absent that, can anyone provide some sage advice?

G

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  • 2 weeks later...

All I can suggest is to start at the beginning: basic hip and ankle mobilising exercises; chondromalacia is difficult to treat, let alone with the experiences you have had. My suggestion is to not do the 'slew of exercise' you presently do, but go back to absolute basics. Even if we were to meet, I probably could not offer more than that.

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