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Patella Dislocation Painfully Common

Patella Dislocation Painfully Common
Patella Dislocation Painfully Common

Patella Dislocation A Teenagers Injury

Patella dislocation is a relatively common injury which typically results from either a twisting injury or a direct impact to the knee whilst the knee is slightly bent. A patella dislocation is an injury more common in the younger athletic population with teenagers being the most common age group to suffer this painful injury. Females are also more likely to dislocate their knee cap.

Patella Dislocation Risk Factors

A patella dislocation can occur in an otherwise normal knee caused by abnormal force on the joint such as (but not exclusively) a blow to the knee pushing the knee cap laterally. The knee cap can also dislocate under less traumatic circumstances in normal situations due to abnormal joint make up predisposing to such dislocation.

Potential Predisposing Factors To Patella Dislocation:

  • Generalised ligamentous laxity.
  • Knocked knee type lower limb posture.
  • Quadriceps weakness.
  • A small knee cap or small or abnormal groove that the knee sits in.

Presentation Of A Dislocated Patella

The diagnosis of a dislocated knee cap is usually pretty obvious with a bulge on the outside (lateral) part of the knee.
A dislocated knee cap will usually relocate (reduce) when the individual tries to straighten their knee and once reduced the knee is typically very swollen and be quite tender at the inside edge of the kneecap which is where the tissues have been torn and generally the person will be avoiding bending of their knee.

Increased Risk Of Arthritis

The impact of a patella dislocation can mean an increased risk of patellofemoral (knee cap) arthritis as well as potential ongoing symptoms, restriction or repeat dislocations.

Management Of Patella Dislocation

Due to the potential risk of repeat dislocations and ongoing issues it is essential following a dislocation that patients have an X-ray to assess the injury and any possible dislocation risk factors. MRI is also useful following dislocation to look at possible soft tissue and cartilage damage.
Surgery is often indicated for kneecap dislocations if the individual is active to create a more reliable return to sport and reduce likelihood of future dislocations. However if the person lives a more sedentary lifestyle they may be managed more conservatively with knee splints / knee bracing and physiotherapy. The exact approach is influenced by the number of previous dislocations, activity levels and the presence or absence of any risk factors. These risk factors always need to be address either via physiotherapy or more invasive surgical methods.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific medical advice or assistance on Patella Dislocation Painfully Common should consult his or her general practitioner, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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