Minor degrees of malalignment of the patella and anatomical abnormalities including a flattened sulcus angle and an increased ratio between patellar tendon length and patellar length (PT:P) have been suggested as predisposing factors in the causation of chondromalacia patellae, as well as patellar instability. In order to confirm or refute this hypothesis a prospective study has been performed comparing the congruence and sulcus angles and the PT:P ratio in a group of 35 patients with chondromalacia confirmed by arthroscopy and a group of 33 patients with instability, with those of a group of 50 knees in normal volunteers. While there was a statistically significant correlation between an increased sulcus and congruence angle and a high-riding patella in patients with instability, no correlation could be identified in patients with idiopathic chondromalacia.