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Patient Question:

Thinning Knee Cartilage and Arthritis

I have been evaluated by two doctors who say that I have patellofemoral chondromalacia of my left knee. Could this condition be the result of the onset of arthritis even though my MRI, X-rays and exams confirm patellofemoral chondromalacia?

Dr. Palmer

Dr. Trish Palmer:

From my point of view, it is very difficult to answer this question with a direct "Yes" or "No." It is very possible that your condition is caused by an arthritic process that is difficult to diagnose from an X-ray. Conversely, it is also possible that it stems from your genetics, biomechanics, activity level and type, and a whole host of other factors about which we do not have specific information.

The diagnosis of chondromalacia, a relative thinning of the cartilage, is often a finding based on an MRI reading. There are several treatment options, depending on the extent of the MRI finding and the patient's overall symptoms.

Treatment Options:

If the first two physicians you visited were not specialists in this area, I highly recommend that you see an orthopaedic physician for an evaluation. The focus should be on treatment, because you cannot truly change the factors so far that may have created it. One of the treatments may be to look at your biomechanics in terms of minimizing your symptoms and the progression of the problem.

For more information about Dr. Palmer and the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush orthopedic physicians that specialize in patient care, education and research, call 877 MD BONES (877.632.6637) or schedule an appointment.

This information is not intended as a substitute for the professional advice of your physician, nor to be a complete description of every aspect of a condition, nor a complete list of possible side effects of any medication. Decisions concerning your treatment should be based on your own health care provider's evaluation of your personal health history and current condition. Consult your physician before following any of the suggestions on this website. All articles on this website represent the personal opinions of the individual authors and should not be construed as official policy of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

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