As I said before, I should have started this knee blog a long time ago. So over the coming weeks, I’ll try to post about some of the things I’ve done over the past year+ as I’ve worked on this issue (chondromalacia patella, caused by patella formal tracking syndrome).
One thing we tried early on was the Shields Patella brace. This is a brace that wraps around the knee, and uses a “butress” to hold the patella in place. See the following pictures:
I actually think this brace was somewhat useful, but I only used it for a few months. It was really too tight to use while biking, but I was able to wear it while hiking and running. (Hiking up steep inclines or steps was somewhat uncomfortable.)
Early on when I was still pretty tender from the bone contusion on the underside of the patella and on the condyle femur, it seemed to keep the two bones from rubbing so much, so I was able to be more active.
As I got better, though, it seemed to cause more irritation than help. This was most likely due to putting the buttress in the wrong place. So to me, that is really key. You have to get it just right for it to work. I would recommend it to anyone that suffers from poor patella tracking, but that you should work with your PT the 1st few times to get it right.
This is an alternative to McConnell taping, which I only tried once. My PT thought the brace would be easier to use than having to tape the knee all the time, and that it would “hold” longer than tape, but I know several people have reported good success with taping. So I recommend trying both to see what works for you.