Chondromalacia Patella - anyone??


New Member
Feb 10, 2004
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Just a quick thought on this one as I only have a minute or two! I suffer with this as well, so I know where you are coming from. The best way I have found is to ride without stirrups (In fact i didn't use them for nearly 2 years) which was the only way I could ride. It was a struggle to begin wth, but with practice and a good instructor it helped me so it might be worth a go! When i ride with stirrups now the onlly way is long! I'm not saying that it will work for you, but wanted to let you know that it did for me, so fingers crossed that you find something that helps.
I agree that most of the time exercises that you are told to do often make the problem worse - it took me over ten years to find a physio that has helped me to understand what is going on and take the rest of my legs into account, so its worth getting more than one opinion on this.
PM me if you want more details - I don't want to bore everyone!


New Member
Apr 18, 2008
I have knee problems to (dunno what you'd call it, but we'll start at "falling-over-a-large-dog, twisting-knee, tearing-ligaments, being-butchered-by-a-crap-'doctor'-who-was-after-the-medical-insurance-money") and because of this, I can't take any real strain, impact or torsion on that joint.

Guess what? That's all the motions you need to get on a neddy...

So I have to mount on the 'wrong' side... which baffles most people and has only ever bothered one horse...

And I only found out after I did a Western ride that I can't get on OR off a Western saddle without the (wishful) aid of a winch: to step down from a western saddle on my 'bad knee leg' is a no-go cos my knee won't support my weight if it's that foot that's in the stirrup, but if I get off with my 'good knee leg', I can't land on my 'bad knee leg' either!!!

Maybe I could slide off the back...


My knee makes some LOVELY scrunching sounds too!!!



Well-Known Member
May 19, 2005
new forest
Both points that ring true with me. I am much happier riding very long - always rode long anyway as feel more secure with more leg wrapped around.
Plus getting off is a nightmare. Western dismount by far the worse I think as same problems with flippin knee.
It is really getting up my nose now (medical impossibility??) as physio says I also have a hamstring injury with "organised swelling" - this made me laugh as fits in so well with my OCD - and also now says I don't walk properly and need ortho implants for my shoe as I am walking on the otside of my foot only on bad leg. This is leading to hip pain too. She can't say which is caused by which... gives me great confidence ...seem to get a varying diagnosis every week or so.
Just have to face it, I am a creaky old croc and buy myself a shetland and roller skates :p


New Member
Jan 21, 2005
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My son suffered with this as a teenager, we were told it amounted to uneven growth causing roughness/friction at the back of the kneecap and leading to inflammation. He didn't ride, but it put an end to his rugby playing as he couldn't do anything that caused concussion to his knees. Our GP more or less laughed at me for being a fussy mother and said that it was "just growing pains" which he'd have to put up with :mad:

To cut a long story short - I found a good sports physio who pretty much sorted things out, mostly using ultrasound treatment, but also with rest and restricted exercise (eg he wasn't allowed to run up or down stairs, but always had to walk). It didn't cost a lot, didn't require a referral from the GP and got him back ski-ing :)


New Member
Jun 9, 2008
Hiya-I have this exact problem-was diagnosed with it 7 years ago. I just ride with longer stirrups and occasionally take my feet out and let my legs dangle! If I ride short my knees ache so much and I can hear them grating away as the horse is moving *eeewww*


New Member
I was diagnosed with chondromalacia pataella, about 4 years ago, basically, softening of the knee cartilage, which means that the patella rubs against the tibia, which can can discomfort.

Since then, i have had 4 operations on the same knee, which havent really been that successful. I do a lot of weight training and squatting and exercises which involve bending the knee and isolating the quadriceps, are a no no.

Open chain movements can put a lot of stress on your knee, because all the impact goes through the knee rather than the muscle You will also find that your vastus medialis muscle atrophies too.

The vastus medialis is the muscle nearest your kneecap, towards the inside of your leg, you may also know of it as the teardrop muscle. Stress to the knee does cause the vastus medialis to weaken and atrophy.

I have had keyhole surgery twice, which were arthroscopies, i then had a miscrofracture surgery which is a bit more complex, then in December of last year, i had a procedure which is quite new, completed, which sees the kneecap being flipped over, cell stitched to the back of the knee, and then the kneecap being put back in place and the leg being stitched up.

I would advise that you get an MRI scan done, to see exactly where the problem is, and what they can do for you.

Some of the locations on the knee can be worse than others, due to the location, weight bearing can be ok, or on the other hand, the surgeons advise against weight bearing at all.

I have been in a knee brace twice, for extended periods of time.

Definately try and get it seen to if you can.

I have a physiology, anatomy, nutrition and exercise background, so if you need any more help, do not hesistate to send me a PM.


Well-Known Member
May 19, 2005
new forest
Thanks folks. OooGazOoo that is very informative.
Joking aside it is all geting a bit much at the moment. It hurts all the time. I take painkillers before I go to bed as it hurts most at night but these wear off at precsiely 3.35 am every night and so I haven't had a full nights sleep for ages so am very tired and grumpy.
I feel as though I don't know what to do - physio says something a bit different every time and exercises aren't improving it at all.
On the other hand have tried a week off the gym ( hard because I love it) and although this eased the hamstring pain a bit temporarily it makes no difference at all to the knee.
To be honest when I am examined now I find it hard to be exact in my description of what hurts where as it is now just a big ball of hurt.
I have varied my gym programme quite a lot on physio and personal trainers advice and have been working on building up the muscle you describe plus glutes and quads but without weight bearing. Have had to stop treadmill as was making it much worse so now do a lot of upper body stuff instead although cycling seems fine.
I know it is nothing in the scheme of things and people have much worse stuff but it is really making me fed up.
I want to get on and ride but I really worry that I will make it worse or that I will fall over when I dismount and then finish the b*ggering thing off.


New Member
No problem.

I know what you are going through, when i first went to the doctors about it, they said it was tendons near the knee which were slightly affected and that it would be ok in 6 weeks. 4 years and 4 operations later, i can safely say it wasnt the tendons.

What you will find is that when you are trying to describe the pain and isolate the area, you cant, because generally, although there is a source/area of the knee which is specific to the actual cause of the pain, the pain is often transmitted through the rest of the knee.

The brain sends signals which actualyl weaken the vastus medialis and some of the other quadricep muscles when you put load onto the knee, which then sees the load go through the knee and not the muscle.

The downside to having chondromalacia pataella is that there isnt any exercises or anything to take which can make it better, once you have it, you have it so to speak, and surgery is a good option.


Well-Known Member
May 19, 2005
new forest
Just an update for anyone else who has similar problems:
Had an MRI scan and it shows I have "moderate" problems with meniscus cartiledge (at side of knee) and original chodromalcia catildege problem (in front of knee) and some rougness to inside of actual bones of kneecap.
It had settled down a lot when I eased off all exercise, but is now hurting again all the time. Am on new anti-inflamatories plus painkillers form docs as over the counter stuff was no longer working.
Also getting some back problems which doc thinks is linked to not standing straight. Now awaiting implants for my right shoes and a walking stick!!!
Looks like will most likely come to surgery next year, but will be keyhole only and day surgery I am assured.
Consultant says riding is OK if not too painful but I must not try rising trot nor spend much time in 2 point seat and should be very careful getting on and off. Helpfully she rides herself so was able to give through advice :)


Learning all the time
Jul 18, 2005
North west
Might be a funny suggestion, but if you know you will wake up at 335am, set an alarm for 230 or 3am and take some meds before it sets in - it is easier to prevent than get rid of pain and also means you should get a better nights sleep :)

Ice is a good pain reliever when it is sore, and hot water bottles for when it is stiff. As was said earlier it is essentially arthiritis - it might be worth getting someone to assess your feet/knee/hip/back posture as if there are factors which could be accentuating the condition (such as weak gluteal muscles, or nont-optimal foot posture) which when addressed might help to delay the progression of the condition.


New Member
Apr 12, 2015
I was just diagnosed with Chondromalacia Patella yesterday in my right knee, my family says the best way to get rid of it is to stop riding and taking care of my horse for about 9 weeks. Are there any other ways to fix it? It hurts a lot when I ride English, and when i trot and canter my horse, my doctor said to ride with a brace, but the brace he gave me, doesnt allow me to move my knee freely. What should I do?


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
That's an old thread, but I have CMP in both knees. I find a brace too bulky so use sports tape and make a diamond round my knee cap which helps and I have found that cycling helps strengthen everything up evenly and that helps everything stay where it should!
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