Patellar dislocations occurs when the patella (kneecap) slides out of the groove of the thigh bone (femur). Typically the patella will dislocate laterally (to the outside aspect of the knee) and can be visibly seen sitting outside the groove. Dislocations can occur when landing from a jump, change of direction while running or traumatic injury where the knee has been hit, forcing the patella to dislocate. An audible pop, immediate swelling and pain usually occurs right after the injury.
If the patella appears out of place, one should not try to push it back into place. Medical attention should be sought immediately.
Physiotherapy can help control pain, reduce swelling and maintain the strength in the knee. Bracing may help to assist the patient getting back to sport and prevent a re-dislocation.
If the patella is very unstable, it may continue to dislocate or sublux. If this is the case, a consultation with a knee surgery may be advised.