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Sports Medicine

Grade 3 chondromalacia



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.


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