Patella (Kneecap) Dislocation

patella dislocations

Patella dislocations occur mostly in young female athletes with most dislocating laterally (to the outside) of the knee, while many spontaneously relocate many require physical realignment through the extension of the knee joint and a force to the outside of the knee.

Patella dislocations are associated with ligament tears and less commonly fractures. As the kneecap dislocates the ligaments on the inside of the knee typically rupture or stretch significantly, cartilage and bone can also be knocked off the underside of the kneecap of the outside of the femur as a result of the force.

Mechanism of injury usually involves an athlete planting their foot while running followed by a rapid change of direction or twisting movement. Direct contact to the inside or front of the knee can also place the knee in a position susceptible to dislocation.

There have been a few risk factors identified for a patella dislocation although most are not modifiable. They include anatomical variations in hip and knee joint angles, shape, size and location of the kneecap as well as gender and age with teenage females being the most at risk.

Although there is no consensus for the treatment of first time dislocation, many lean towards nonoperative treatment with bracing and physiotherapy as it has been shown that many will no require surgery post a rehabilitation program and there are far less negative side effects. This puts Physiotherapy at the forefront in terms of managing this injury, with the building up of quadricep strength and control being the single most important aspect a patient can improve to aid the stability of the kneecap. Yet even with a through rehabilitation plan research has shown a recurrence rate of 15-45%.

If you or someone you know currently has a sports injury or needs rehabilitation, consult one of our physios who can help you get back doing what you love, pain and injury free. Don’t put up with a niggling neck, back, knee or shoulder, get it sorted so you can live life your way!

We’d love to help – call 5535 5218 to make an appointment.


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