Joint pain: 'Will Pilates help?'

I have been diagnosed with having chrondomalacia patellae in both knees. I had keyhole surgery on my left knee to try to release some of the pressure, but this was unsuccessful and I ended up with more pain and stiffness. I am going to a physiotherapy clinic about my right leg. Would Pilates exercises help? What about acupuncture as a form of pain relief?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Chondromalacia patellae causes the cartilage that lines the back of the kneecap (the patella) to become soft, rough and irregular. Normal cartilage is firm, smooth and shiny. This cartilage allows the kneecap to slide over the front of the knee joint whenever the knee is bent. The cause of chondromalacia is usually unknown – it just happens. Any exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee will help, but too much exercise will make things worse. Pilates should be fine, as long as you avoid kneeling and strenuous, repetitive bending of the knees. Your physio should be able to advise you on the most suitable exercises. Acupuncture will not help the underlying problem. If you are lucky, it may help the pain. Chondromalacia usually affects young people and gets better by itself. To find out more, contact the Arthritis Research Campaign: or helpline 0870 850 5000. The website suggests exercises that will help.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.