Patella Dislocation

What is Patella Dislocation?

The patella is the kneecap, one of the three bones in your knee joint. This one usually slides up and down on a groove located at the end of your thigh bone. A patella dislocation occurs when the bone slides out of the groove.

How Does it Happen?

The most common cause of patella dislocation is an injury that causes the bone to come out of its groove. Often, after the bone has dislocated once, it is more apt to do it again. This is because the ligaments holding the bone in place are torn and may not heal properly.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

There are several signs of patella dislocation, including these:

  • Pain over the edges of the kneecap
  • Swelling and tenderness around the knee
  • Pain when you are active
  • A giving-away of the knee, which can make you fall

How is it Diagnosed?

If you are suffering knee pain, your doctor will do a physical examination of the joint. He or she will also use x-rays to check the joint for injury.

How is it Treated?

In some cases, your doctor may put the dislocated bone back in place and then have you wear a knee brace for support. He or she may also suggest physical therapy, which will help strengthen the muscles around your knee.

Unfortunately, if the ligaments do not heal well, you may experience more dislocations. In that case you doctor may suggest surgery to adjust the surrounding ligaments, so the patella has more support in staying in the groove.

What is the Prognosis?

If you have surgery to repair the ligaments, your knee should be more stable and you'll be at decreased risk of having future dislocations. However, without surgery your ligaments remain weak, and your chances of recurring dislocations is high.