Patella Dislocation- Causes, Symptoms and Prevention

What is a patella dislocation?

The kneecap or patella bone faces forward and protects the knee joint. This part of the knee is valuable, but it is also susceptible to injury and dislocation. An injury to the patella can misalign the kneecap and move this bone out of place. In several sports activities like basketball and soccer, a kneecap dislocation can occur as well as overstretching of ligaments that surround the patella.

What causes patella dislocations?

A sudden twisting, jerking or direct hit to the kneecap can cause chronic knee pain. The patella is held in place by ligaments and cartilage that surround it. Patients who participate in sports or high-intensity workouts should be cautious of a patella dislocation diagnosis and causes like:

  • Extreme stress put on the knee joint
  • Rapid change of direction or motion in the knee
  • injury to another portion of the knee such as ACL, MCL, etc.

If the knee joint in overstretched or directly hit in any way, the kneecap is at risk of patella dislocation symptoms. The pain-free patella should be front and center of the knee itself.

How do I know if I have a patella dislocation?

The kneecap can be easily seen in all patients. Many times after injury, the patient is able to see if their kneecap appears to be out of place or out of alignment with the rest of the joint. Not only will patients experience chronic knee pain, but there are other patella dislocation symptoms. You may have a kneecap dislocation if:

  • The knee is misshaped or off-center
  • The knee joint is swollen and tender
  • The knee is bent and unable to lay straight forward
  • The kneecap can be moved side to side or up and down

How do I prevent patella dislocations?

The kneecap is there to protect the rest of the knee joint, but it should be protected as well. Patients can take caution in their daily routines and during exercise activities. A patella dislocation diagnosis is preventable if patients follow this advice:

  • Stretch the knee joint every day to increase flexibility
  • Strengthen the knee so it can handle more pressure or weight
  • Wear knee pads when participating in contact sports