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Patello-femoral joint mechanics and pathology. 2. Chondromalacia patellae

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Two distinct lesions affect the articular cartilage of the patella. Surface degeneration occurs particularly on the odd facet; it is age dependent, often present in youth and it becomes more frequent with increasing age. It probably does not occasion patello-femoral pain in youth, but may predispose to degenerative arthritis in that joint in later years and is regarded as a consequence of habitual disuse. The term "basal degeneration" is used to describe a lesion in which there is a fasciculation of collagen in the middle and deep zones of cartilage without, at first, affecting the surface. It was found astride the ridge separating the medial from the odd facet in twenty-three adolescents who had complained of prolonged patello-femoral pain. They were treated by excision of the disc of affected cartilage, with relief of pain in most cases. The pathogenesis of basal degeneration is related to the functional anatomy of the patella.

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