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1. Chondromalacia, sometimes a precursor of osteoarthritis, is present in the articular cartilage of the patella of most people by the age of thirty; it causes symptoms in only a few, and it gives rise to osteoarthritis in fewer still. It may progress slowly or quickly but there is no clinical method of assessing the prognosis at an early stage.

2. The earliest change is swelling of the cartilage associated with a decrease in the chondroitin sulphuric acid content of the matrix. Later the cartilage fissures and flakes off to expose the bone, and there are reactive changes in the cartilage, bone and synovial membrane. The process is described and the etiology discussed.

3. The symptoms, signs and treatment are discussed. Operation, which has been performed only when there are disabling symptoms, may consist in removing part or the whole of the articular cartilage, or in excision of the patella. The results in forty-six knees are given.

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