The most common symptom of chondromalacia is a dull, aching pain in the front of your knee, behind your kneecap. This pain can get worse when you go up or down stairs. It also can flare up after you have been sitting in one position for a long time. For example, your knee may be painful and stiff when you stand up after watching a movie or after a long trip in a car or plane.
Chondromalacia also can make your knee joint "catch" meaning you suddenly have trouble moving it past a certain point, or "give way" (buckle unexpectedly). These symptoms tend to occur when you bend your knee repeatedly, especially when you go down stairs. In some cases, the painful knee also can appear puffy or swollen.
Chondromalacia can cause a creaky sound or grinding sensation when you move your knee. However, creaking sounds during bending do not always mean that cartilage is damaged.
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