Patellar dislocation

Patellar dislocation

According to my Injury classification system, Patellar dislocation with no other associated condition, is considered Level 1 Injury, as per the main dysfunction being found at the first Alignment protective layer. The patella is one of the few bones in the body that may dislocate without causing significant tissue damage. This is due to the fact that the patella is a free small independent bone ‘’floating’’ on the top of the femur serving as a lever for the quadriceps muscle and not being bound and attached  by strong ligaments and joint capsule as found in other joints.

The most common patella dislocation occurs to the lateral or outer side of the knee. Medial (inner) dislocation is rare and mainly occurs from a direct trauma. The main predisposing factor for lateral dislocation is the femur rotational misalignments that shift the patella outwards initially creating a condition called knee maltracking syndromes, which disturbs the smooth up and down movement of the patella on the patellofemoral groove. If left untreated, the increase rotational forces caused by the knee misalignment and  weakness of the supporting soft tissue, may allow the patella to fully com out from its original groove.



The entire Lower extremity biomechanical chain must be evaluated as per the neurological and mechanical influences of the pelvis, hip, and foot.

Clinical evaluation of the knee and patella alignment as well as visualizing the pattern of compensation presence on the lower extremity.

X-ray analyses

Anterior – Posterior (AP) knee view is essential to evaluate the degree of misalignment involved in this deformity.

Lateral x-ray lateral view is important to properly visualize the rotational misalignments of the femur that are commonly found as a predisposing factors for the development of patella dislocations.


Treatment protocol

Manually reduction of the patella

Specific adjustments to the knee joint

Stretching and strengthening of specific hip and knee muscle groups

Functional taping may be used in the beginning of the treatment to hold the patella in place

Depending on the level of deformity and chronicity, minimum 6 weeks of care is advisable to resolve this condition.

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