What is a Patella Dislocation?
Patellar subluxation is a partial dislocation of the kneecap (patella). It’s also known as patellar instability or kneecap instability. The kneecap is a small protective bone that attaches near the bottom of your thigh bone (femur)
Local Orthopaedic Surgeons
Dr. Grant Lum, MD, CCFP, Dip Sports Med, discusses What is Patellar Instability of the Knee and How Is It Treated?
Audrey Spielmann, MD FRCP(C), discusses MRI Scans for Knee Injuries and When They Are Important.
The Facts You Need to Know About a Patella Dislocation Knee Injury
The most common type of patella dislocation that an orthopedic surgeon will see will be one that is traumatic in nature.
That is there’s been some sort of events either during competition, during practice, or play where the kneecap slides to the side, and we call that patella instability or patella dislocation.
After the first time this ever happens to an individual, almost always we can treat this without surgery. And the key to doing so is seeing a physician early, getting a referral to a specialist, and then making sure certain things have not happened.
As long as there is no fracture of the cartilage or the bone, and there are no associated injuries with the patella dislocation, 80 percent of these or up to 80 percent of these can be managed successfully without surgery.
So this involves physical therapy, potentially bracing, and really strengthening the entire lower body consisting of the core muscles, the knee, the muscles around the knee, and concerning the overall alignment of the patient.
If someone requires surgery, it’s usually because a kneecap comes out repetitively with activities of daily living, with their daily function, and with the sports that they pursue.
So in that situation we term that as recurrent patella instability or recurrent patella dislocations, and we offer various types of surgery. And once again the types of surgeries really depend on the anatomy of the individual, various diseased related characteristics and patient-related characteristics, and the options range anywhere from a ligament repair to a ligament repair with a realignment of the bone, or the shin bone.
So if you think you’ve dislocated your patella at any point in the past, and you require surgical treatment, you should get a referral to your orthopedic sports medicine specialist to see if you’re a candidate for a ligament reconstruction, or something perhaps more involved. Local Physiotherapist.
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What is Patellar Instability of the Knee and How Is It Treated?
Patellar disc location is a condition where the patella or kneecap is actually displaced from the leg altogether.
Usually this happens in trauma situations. So when someone has a fall or a bad twist to the knee then the kneecap can actually dislocate or pop off. When the kneecap doesn’t dislocate completely, we call that a subluxation. But both of these conditions would fall under the term of patellar instability. It means that the kneecap’s not stable.
That type of injury leads to a stretching or tearing of something called the retinaculum. That’s the piece of tissue that anchors the kneecap on. In some cases when that’s been torn completely, then the kneecap becomes so unstable that you can dislocate your kneecap very easily doing day-to-day things like getting out of your car or even turning to go down the hallway. In those kinds of situations then surgery may be necessary.
In lesser situations where the kneecap is only mildly unstable, we can make a lot of progress doing things like therapy to try and strengthen the muscles or we can apply a brace to play the role of that retinaculum so that the brace holds the kneecap in place and prevents it from subluxing or dislocating.
If you’ve had a patellar subluxation or dislocation or if you have further questions, there are various treatment options available to you.
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