Patella Dislocation – Treatment with Physiotherapy

What is Patella Dislocation?

Patella Dislocation: The knee joint is composed of the thigh bone, (femur) and leg bone (tibia) and a small floating bone at the front, commonly known as the kneecap (patella). The interaction between these bones allows for smooth movement of the knee as it bends and straightens.patella dislocation

During movement, the kneecap sits in a groove at the front of the knee and acts as a mechanical see-saw. This protects the knee joint and improves the efficiency of the muscles working to move it. When the patella moves out of this groove it is called a subluxation. If the patella moves far enough out of this groove it becomes a Patella dislocation.

What are the symptoms of Patella Dislocation?

The first occurrence of patella dislocation is usually the most traumatic and painful. The knee may give way, and a visible lump can be noticed where the patella has dislocated. There will often be bruising, swelling and the knee may feel unstable. First time patella dislocation may also cause a hemarthrosis or bleeding within the knee joint. If there is damage to the ligaments of the knee, subsequent dislocations can happen more easily, and from everyday activities, causing the knee to give way suddenly.

What are the causes?

First time dislocations often occur due to a traumatic event. The most common cause of patellar dislocation is a non-contact injury to the knee with a twist of the leg (the thigh bone rotates internally on a fixed leg and foot). In addition, a direct blow to the side of the knee can also dislocate the patella.

If there is some instability of the joint, dislocations can occur more regularly and from smaller forces. Dislocations usually occur when the knee is bent and the kneecap slips back into place when the knee is straightened again. While the kneecap can be dislocated in both directions, it usually dislocates towards the outside of the knee.

Certain factors can make dislocation more likely, including overall hyper-flexibility, damage to the ligaments of the knee and muscular imbalance of the quadriceps. The structure and angle of the knee joint itself can also make dislocation more likely. This can be seen in the increased prevalence of dislocations for women as they have a slightly different angle of femur compared to the tibia than men. A traumatic dislocation can cause instability that can lead to future dislocations.

How can physiotherapy help with Patella Disclocation ?

An acute patellar dislocation should be treated like any traumatic injury and assessed by a medical professional to reduce pain and swelling, make an accurate diagnosis and check for fractures. While the kneecap may relocate itself quickly, ensuring that it is able to heal correctly to prevent further dislocations may require immobilization for up to six weeks. patella dislocation - treatment with physiotherapy

Your physiotherapist will be able to identify any factors that may predispose you to further dislocations and provide you with a personalized treatment program to address any stiffness, weakness or instability surrounding the knee. Balance and proprioception (your sense of where your body is in space) are often reduced following an injury and your physiotherapist will help to rehabilitate these. Your therapist may provide you with education and advice regarding bracing or taping. In severe cases of instability, surgery may be recommended to stabilize the knee however this is usually not considered unless there has been a fracture or until a full rehabilitation with physiotherapy has been completed.

Disclaimer

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.

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Billy Wu ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Awesome physiotherapists. Have my long-term health in mind when offering treatment plans. Very patient in explaining my issues. Great support staff, responsive to schedule changes and inquiries.

Jen Scheerschmidt ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Initial Assessment went well. Office was busy but staff were attentive and on the ball. Dr. Rennick was gentle and adjusted my back well. I will be back for another appointment.

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I attend Action Sports Clinic to see my physiotherapist - Darra. Darra is very knowledgeable, attentive, and truly knows his sports medicine. I would highly recommend Darra to anyone who has a sports injury or is in need of physiotherapy. The front desk staff are very friendly and helpful, and are able to answer all of my questions.

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I've been seeing Shawn and the Action team since 2012 for my sports therapy needs and I'm better for it! Treatment and pro-tips (including video feedback on movement coaching) from someone who is client focused and active makes all the difference.

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I've had an excellent experience having some physio work done on my shoulder. Shawn and his team are experts at what they do. They're friendly, punctual, and down to earth. I would highly recommend them!

Ashley Gibbs ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Shawn is the best physio I have ever been to, and I continue to go back to him to get me over my many injuries so that I can get back playing. I like Shawn because he knows I'm not going to stop playing my sports, and he takes a practical approach to getting me back playing as quickly as possible. Shawn has a broad background to bring to the table in terms of treatment options, and his experience at recognizing injuries, human physiology, body mechanics, and the symptoms, treatment, future prevention and rehabilitation is second to none. For me personally, I like that Shawn understands I need an "aggressive" approach to the treatment required to overcome my injuries - this is refreshing because other physios I have attended previously I always felt were treating my injuries and pain threshold with kid gloves which resulted in lengthy absences from playing my sports. I like that Shawn is hyper focused on getting me back playing as soon as possible, and even recognizes I may play when I'm not supposed to. He just rolls with it! Love it.

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