Patellar instability and dislocation refer to the displacement of the knee cap (also known as the patella). Injuries like a sudden blow or twist of the leg can cause the patella to slip out of its normal position, leading to pain and swelling around the knee. Additionally, without the kneecap in its proper position, the knee will not be able to function normally.
Young athletes are more likely than any other group to experience a patellar dislocation, especially if they have any predisposing factors, like a shallow groove in the femur (thigh bone) or imbalances between leg muscles. Patellar dislocations can usually be treated through nonoperative treatments, and with proper care, the knee will regain full function.
Causes of Patellar Instability/Dislocation
Certain types of movements and injuries tend to cause patellar instability, and other risk factors can make patellar dislocation more likely. Below are a few of the main causes and risk factors for patellar dislocation:
- Direct impact to the knee, knocking the patella out of the joint
- Twisting of the knee or ankle
- A sudden lateral movement
- A shallow or uneven groove in the femur
- Looser, more flexible joints (more common in female children)
- Cerebral palsy or Down syndrome
Symptoms of Kneecap Dislocation/Patellar Instability
If you or your child experiences any of the following symptoms, give our office a call. It’s important to treat any joint problems as soon as possible to prevent additional damage and long-term problems:
- Pain and swelling
- An initial popping sound
- Feeling the kneecap shift out of place
- Feeling the knee give out or buckle
- Apprehension when changing directions or running
Even if the patella naturally slides back into place, you should still seek treatment to prevent reinjury and restore the full range of motion to the knee.
Patellar Dislocation Treatment in Marin County, CA
If you or your child is suffering from patellar instability or dislocation, Marin Orthopedics is here to help. The sooner you seek treatment, the better, so give our office in Novato, CA, a call at (415) 492-1600, and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.