Dislocated Patella

By Chad Evans, MPT

Dislocated Patella or Knee Cap

A dislocated patella or knee cap can happen with a traumatic incident.  The knee twists or a direct blow to the knee area. A secondary cause can be from tight or strong lateral structures of the knee. A physical therapy program must be followed to strengthen the medial knee muscles.  It is also a recommendation to stretch the hamstrings and IT Band.

image of Dislocated Knee Cap

Dislocated Patella

Most dislocations occur laterally or to the outside of your knee.  An orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your patella dislocation. Once this occurs, reoccurrence is common.

If you are interested in learning more about this subject, please go to recovery time for a dislocated patella.

Dislocated Patella Symptoms

Typical signs and symptoms of a patellar dislocation include:

  • Rapid swelling and extreme pain.
  • Continued pain along medial (inside) ligaments.
  • Discoloration medially at the site of ligament injury.
  • Instability of the knee.

Treatment of a Dislocated Patella 

The treatment of a dislocated knee varies depending upon the severity of the injury. If the injury is less severe, the patella may relocate before the individual makes it to the hospital. Some other dislocations will remain out of place until they see a physician. If the kneecap relocates without further injury, here are some common treatment techniques:

  • RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
  • Immobilization: Your physician may recommend a brace or cast to prevent re-injury.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist at JOI can prescribe a variety of stretches and exercises.  These help the patient regain their full range of motion while strengthening the structure of the knee.  Therefore, therapy is an important aspect in the recovery from this injury.  VMO strengthening is a key component in the rehab from this injury.

Dislocated Knee

image of soccer player with dislocated knee

Dislocated knee

What is a Dislocated Knee? 

A dislocated knee is a severe injury and is not the same as dislocating the knee cap. It would be virtually impossible to walk with a dislocated knee. The thigh bone (femur) connects to the shin bone (tibia) at the knee. There are major ligaments that hold the joint together. Furthermore, dislocating the knee would tear multiple ligaments and cause the knee to destabilize. There are large blood vessels and nerves that pass by the knee. Also, dislocating the knee would likely compromise one or more of those major structures.

To schedule for JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045. 

Related Articles:

Anatomy of the knee

Content knee anatomy

Knee ligaments

Knee anatomy

Concentric vs Eccentric Exercises.

Finally, if you need to see an Orthopedic Specialist for your knee, please call 904-JOI-2000, schedule online or follow the link below.

By: Chad Evans, Physical Therapist.

Book An Appointment with a JOI knee Physician.

Image of Book An Appointment with a JOI Physician Button.


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