The patella bone is surrounded by tendons, and rests in a groove at the end of the femur. The patella is held in place by ligaments and tendons. A kneecap or patella dislocation occurs when the patella bone is pushed out of place, and soft tissues such as ligaments, muscles and tendons are damaged. Patella dislocations are most common in children and young adults.
A patella dislocation can happen for the following reasons:
Symptoms of a dislocated patella include:
If you think you have dislocated your kneecap, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, and check for tenderness and range of motion. He will then put the kneecap back in place by applying pressure to the area.
Some non-surgical treatments include:
If you have experienced multiple dislocations, or experience pain and instability after exhausting all the above non-surgical treatment options, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery. During the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will repair/reconstruct the medial patelo-femoral ligament that holds the patella in place. The ligament reconstruction will be preceded by a knee arthroscopy to make sure the other structures inside the knee (meniscus) are not damaged. The surgical equipment used in arthroscopy is particularly small, which means that the incisions made in the body will be small, less painful, and will heal much quicker than those made in traditional open surgery.