Today, we're going to illustrate how stress on the patella (knee cap) can lead to knee pain. Pain associated with the patella (knee cap) typically occurs when the knee cap "rubs up" against the femur (thigh bone). In a healthy knee, there is a layer of protective cartilage behind/underneath the knee cap, that prevents bone on bone contact, osteoarthritis, inflammation, and knee pain. Over time however, this protective cartilage wears down, and increases the probability for bone on bone contact, osteoarthritis and knee pain.
To better illustrate this process, imagine that you had two stones, representing our bones, laying on top of each other. In between these two stones, lies a 3-4inch thick layer of rubber, representing our cartilage. Now imagine that these stones began to slide back and forth, over and over again, each of them creating friction on the rubber layer in between. What would happen to the layer of rubber? Over time, it would become worn down, and the stones would become closer and closer to one another. Eventually, when the rubber layer had completely broken down, the stones would begin rubbing up against each other.
Now imagine what would happen to the stones themselves as they begin grinding against each other. First and foremost, we would hear a "grinding" noise when they came in contact. Secondly, we would see white "chips" or "scratches" start to form on them, representing osteoarthritis. Thirdly, if we were to feel the bottom of the stone with our hand, it would be warm to the touch, indicating pain and inflammation. This is the exact progression of the cartilage between the patella and the femur bone as it wears down over time.
Contributing Factors that Cause Exacerbate Knee Pain (Chondromalacia Patella):
-previous injury to the knee joint (acl/meniscus tears, hyperextensions etc.)
- years of strenuous exercise/activity
- lack of flexibility in the hips, quads, hamstrings, and calves
- overweight/high body mass index
- autoimmune disorders (i.e gout) that contribute to inflammation and osteoarthritis.
If you are experiencing knee pain, you are not alone! In 2021, an estimated 100 million people (20% of the population) reported knee pain. The best thing to do, is seek the advice of a medical professional near you, and start taking your life back today! Modern Concepts is here to serve as many patients as possible the Charlotte, NC and Fort Mill, SC areas!