Patella dislocations

PATELLA DISLOCATIONS

WHAT IS A PATELLA DISLOCATION?

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:

  • Loose ligaments increase the risk of a dislocation
  • Shallow grooves can increase the risk of dislocation
  • Muscle weakness can lead to dislocations
  • Hard falls or knocks can cause the patella to be pushed out of place and can occur due to a sports injury.
  • A twisting of the knee or ankle can result in a dislocation.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Symptoms of a dislocated patella include:

  • Knee joint pain
  • Knee swelling
  • The feeling of having the kneecap shift from its usual position
  • A popping sound when the kneecap dislocates

HOW CAN IT BE TREATED?

A patella dislocation is a painful emergency. The reduction is performed under adequate analgesia/sedation by a doctor.

Some post-reduction non-surgical treatments include:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Rest
  • The use of crutches and a knee brace

Your orthopaedic surgeon may recommend surgery if you have experienced multiple dislocations or experience pain and instability after exhausting all the above non-surgical treatment options. During the procedure, your orthopaedic surgeon will repair/reconstruct the medial patellofemoral ligament that holds the patella in place. A knee arthroscopy will precede the ligament reconstruction 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.

DR GABRIEL PIRJOL

Dr Gabriel Pirjol is an orthopaedic surgeon based in KwaZulu-Natal at St Augustine's Hospital in Durban. He also operates from Westville Hospital and Capital Haematology Hospital.

CONTACT

Telephone: +27 31 202 5463

Email: gpirjol@gmail.com / opaed001@gmail.com

Address : Suite 24 Chelmsford Medical Centre
St Augustine's Hospital
107 J B Marks Road
Berea, 4001
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal