Signs of a Patellar Dislocation

Under normal circumstances, your kneecap, or patella, slides easily, allowing movement in your legs. When you dislocate your kneecap, however, the results include limited movement and much more.

Here at our practice, Dr. Timothy Wilson excels in the treatment of knee injuries, and patella dislocations account for 2%-3% of them. The first step in regaining function of your knees is to understand when there’s a problem and when you should seek the expertise of an orthopedic specialist.

Let’s take a look.

Behind the dislocation

When we talk about a dislocation, we’re referring to a kneecap that’s out of place. More specifically, your patella is a protective bone that’s held in place by a group of muscles and ligaments. To provide your knees with movement, your patella slides along a groove in your thigh bone, called the trochlea.

If your patella is jarred out of position, it means that it’s no longer sliding in the trochlear groove.

There are different degrees and angles of patellar dislocations, which dictate your symptoms to a large degree.

Partial subluxation

Let’s start with the more minor of the patellar dislocations problems — a partial subluxation. While not considered a full-on dislocation, this problem can lead to one very quickly if we don’t intervene. To recognize a partial subluxation, be on the lookout for:

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, we recommend that you come see us so that we can determine whether a partial subluxation is at play.

Kneecap dislocation

A kneecap dislocation is often the result of direct trauma to your knee or a sudden change in direction. The signs of this type of dislocation are hard to ignore and include:

These symptoms are fairly common across the board when it comes to knee injuries, so having us take a look with advanced diagnostic equipment is key.

Treating your patella dislocation

If we find that your patella is dislocated, your treatment depends upon the degree of the dislocation. In many cases, you may also have ligament damage, which we also need to repair.

Our first goal is to reposition your patella, which we can perform in an in-office procedure. If your dislocation recurs or there’s more damage inside the joint, we may recommend surgery. Rest assured, Dr. Wilson uses the latest minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques to help you get back on your feet more quickly.

If you suspect you’ve dislocated your kneecap, contact our office in Lexington, Kentucky, to set up an appointment.

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