I have a chronic problem with chondromalacia in my left knee. I've tried exercises and taping with limited success. What about bracing?

Chondromalacia refers to softening of the cartilage behind the knee. It causes pain and sometimes a feeling or even the sound of crunching called crepitus behind the patella (kneecap). The pain and crepitus occur when the patella moves up and down.

Controlling the patella is important in treating this condition. Taping doesn't always work. The patella doesn't stay in place during physical activity and exercise. Studies show bracing does change the position of the patella.

Controlling the patella is important when dealing with chondromalacia. Finding the right brace can be a challenge. There are some braces on the market that offer pressure in all directions to hold the patella. Keeping the kneecap from tilting is also important.

Look for a brace with a strap or support that will hold the patella firmly in place. A physical therapist or athletic trainer can help you find the right one for your knee.