Kristin Bowne, Joshua Prall, Michael Ross


The purpose of this case report is to describe the use of physical therapy combined with prolotherapy in a recreationally active, middle-aged man with knee pain and chondromalacia patella. The patient was a 50 year-old male triathlete presenting with a chief complaint of persistent left knee stiffness and anterolateral knee pain. The patient’s symptoms began insidiously 9 months prior after an increase in his triathlon training activities. His knee pain progressed to the point that he could not perform any weight bearing exercise without significant discomfort. Previous treatments included management by a physical therapist, as well as corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid injections. Although these previous treatments provided minimal benefit, the patient sought further management by another physical therapist. Magnetic resonance imaging findings revealed moderate to severe chondromalacia at the lateral patellar facet. In addition to management by a physical therapist, the patient received a series of three prolotherapy injections to the knee. Physical therapy management consisted of manual therapy for the lower quarter, targeted therapeutic exercise to address strength deficits of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, and a gradual return to weight bearing exercise and functional activity. At 4 months following the physical therapy and prolotherapy injections, the patient reported no pain during daily activities. Additionally, he had returned to swimming, cycling, unlimited walking and hiking on various surfaces, and agility drills. In patients with knee pain and chondromalacia patella, especially those who have not responded to prior interventions, physical therapy combined with prolotherapy may serve as a treatment option.

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