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Is chondromalacia patellae a separate clinical entity?

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The articular cartilage of the patella was studied in 100 knees at necropsy. In twenty-one of these knees the cartilage changes were related to the trabecular architecture of the underlying bone. It would appear that the initiation and location of cartilage damage and its rate and degree of progression are related to the relative stiffness of the underlying cancellous bone. On the basis of our observations we suggest that the diagnosis "chondromalacia of the patella" should be reserved for patients with asymptomatic or transiently symptomatic fibrillation of the articular cartilage of the central medial patellar facet. Those patients with persistent patellofemoral pain should be considered to have some other syndrome.

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