If you are diagnosed with a dislocated kneecap, our specialist may
- prescribe oral analgesic medication.
- immobilise your knee with an extension splint for 2-3 weeks.
- advise you to use crutches for 2-3 weeks
- refer you to physiotherapist for treatment improve muscle strength and movement in your knee.
If your kneecap continues to be unstable, our specialist may:
- recommend surgery to repair a damaged ligament or tendon in the knee.
What is Patella Dislocation?
The patella (kneecap) glides up and down a groove (the femoral trochlear groove) in the femur (thighbone) as the knee bends and straightens. Sometimes the surrounding tendons and ligaments are unable to hold the patella in the groove, enabling it to dislocate (“pop out”) or subluxate (partially dislocate), usually outward or laterally.
Causes of Patella Dislocation
Dislocation of the patella is associated with repetitive running, jumping or kicking. Such activities can lead to stress on the kneecap and cause it to either fully or partially dislocate from the femoral trochlear groove. Not running properly or wearing the wrong type of shoes can increase the likelihood of this happening. A sharp blow to the kneecap can also dislodge the kneecap.
Symptoms & Diagnosis of Patella Dislocation
You may feel pain in your knee, and there may be swelling and stiffness in the area. You may hear cracking and crackling sounds when you move your knee, and you may feel it “catch”. In more extreme cases, your knee may buckle under your weight and your kneecap may slip off to one side. In an acute dislocation, you may hear a “pop” and feel your knee collapse suddenly. Our specialist will usually make a diagnosis through physical examination, but you may need an X-ray or MRI scan to pinpoint the position of the patella and assess any damage to the surrounding tissue.
Risks & Complications of Patella Dislocation
If left untreated, a dislocation of your kneecap may lead to the production of loose fragments of cartilage and bone in your knee, causing further degeneration of the joint and the risk of osteoarthritis in the future. One or more dislocations can lead to patella instability, in which the damaged ligaments and tendons are unable to hold your kneecap securely, and it will continue to feel unstable even after it had been reduced (put back in place).