Dislocated Kneecap Treatment

by / Thursday, 31 January 2019 / Published in Blog

The kneecap or patella can escape or dislocate out of its natural position. The dislocated kneecap is different from knee joint dislocation.

The kneecap connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to your tibia or shinbone. When you bend or straighten your leg, the kneecap is pulled up or down. To allow the kneecap to move, the femur or thighbone has a V-shaped notch (or femoral groove) at one end to allow the kneecap to move. In natural state, the patella fits perfectly in this groove. However, if the groove is shallow or uneven, the patella could escape, resulting in a partial or complete dislocation.

Dislocated kneecap causes

A patellar dislocation usually occurs after a sudden blow or twisting of the knee. In many cases, the patella will relocate to the groove in thigh bone, upon straightening the knee, but it is usually quite painful.

Risk factors for patellar dislocation are inadequate quadriceps strength on the inside of the knee, over-pronation of the feet and increased Q angle of the knee.

Dislocated kneecap symptoms

  • immediate pain
  • swelling
  • knee buckles under weight
  • knee stiff
  • cracking sounds during knee movement

To determine whether you have a dislocated patella, your physician may –

  • ask you to walk or straighten and bend your knee
  • feel around your kneecap and check if the bones are out of alignment
  • check for thigh muscles strength

An X-ray may be necessary to check how the kneecap fits in the groove or eliminate other possible reasons for pain.

Dislocated kneecap treatment

If you have a completely dislocated patella, it has to be returned to its correct place. This is referred to as ‘reduction’ and may even happen spontaneously before the person is able to seek medical treatment.

If the patella is only partially dislocated (subluxated), the doctor may recommend non-surgical treatment such as physical therapy and bracing.

If your patella repeatedly dislocates, surgery may be required to realign the bones or reconstruct the ligaments.