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Skiing with Chondromalacia

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi, for the past few years I have been dealing with a condition called Chondromalacia - which is a problem with the tracking of the patella which causes varying degrees of pain. I tried physical therapy, and while moderately successful, the pain never subsided completely and has recently surfaced in large amounts again. I ski four to five days a week using a brace, and for the most part the pain is bearable enough to ski with. The major issue is that I am sure that this pain limits the function of my right leg, and I believe it severely holds me back from becoming the skiier that I wish to be. Due to favoring my left leg for so long, my left leg is now significantly stronger(and visibly bigger!) than my right leg, and I am not hopeful that I will ever be able to bring them back to equal size. That I can live with. I just want to restore the strength in my leg to the point where this knee pain is no longer an issue and hopefully make it so my patella is tracking properly enough that I don't develop arthritis in my knee as I grow older. I am not sure what I am looking for here, but any stories from people who have dealt with this condition, or advice on how to deal with this condition would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

post #2 of 4
I've been skiing with that for 35 years, from before Advil was available. It hasn't bothered me much in years, but I still have an Xray that shows some serious damage. For me, the solution was to strengthen my quads, first with isometric excercises, then with weights and bicycling (up hill intervals in high gears). A lot if runners get chondromalacia, few cyclists do.
You need to let the inflammation completely calm down before you do any hard exercise. Lots of ice and Advil help as well. Use them BEFORE your knees hurt.
Skiing moguls, and skiing in the backseat put pressure on your kneecaps. Stop doing that, at least until your knees are strong.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
35 years, wow. It's good to know that someone has sustained a long time skiing - my deepest fear is that it will continue to get worse until finally I can't ski any longer. I try to take good care of my knee, and staying out of the backseat is a top priority. I will confess, though, that I have been spending a ton of time in the bumps recently. I suppose I will try to take a few weeks off from them and see how things develop, because when I am just carving groomers or skiing trees it rarely hurts, unless conditions are especially deep. Your cycling advice is well taken too - I developed this condition initially after 4 years of being a competitive long distance runner and running now without a doubt exacerbates my condition. I hadn't really considered cycling as a rehabilitating exercise, but I will. Have your doctors talked about the dangers of early arthritis in your knee(assuming this problem still persists actively for you)? I am particularly concerned with preventing that, as I'd rather my knee only affected my athletic activities and not my day to day life!

Thanks for your response!

post #4 of 4
Alpine skiing cured mine. I guess it provided the right stretching or something to get the patella tracking properly. I had a bad flare up hiking one fall and six weeks of drugs, rest and stretching did nothing. I finally said screw it, I'm going to ski if I spend the whole day on one leg. It was gone by that afternoon and never really came back.
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