Definition of Kneecap dislocation:
Kneecap dislocation occurs when the triangle-shaped bone covering the knee (patella) moves or slides out of place. The problem usually occurs toward the outside of the leg.
A dislocated kneecap most often occurs in women. It is usually a result of sudden direction changes while running. This puts the knee under stress.
Dislocation may also occur as a direct result of injury. When it is dislocated, the kneecap may slip sideways and around to the outside of the knee.
Structure Of The Kneecap
The kneecap actually covers the end of the thighbone. It sits atop the end of the thighbone with a layer of cartilage in between. This allows the kneecap to slide smoothly over the bone. In a normal kneecap, there is a central groove in the kneecap that fits over the end of the thighbone. This keeps the kneecap sliding straight up and down, allowing the knee to function normally. With an unstable kneecap, however, the kneecap no longer slides normally.
Symptoms Of An Unstable Kneecap
- Kneecap slides to the side
- Knee is no longer able to support weight and buckles
- Knee catches and locks when being moved
- Cracking or creaking of the knee
- Knee buckles and can no longer support your weight
- Pain in the front of the knee that increases with activity
- Pain when sitting
During the physical examination, your doctor may ask you to walk around or to straighten and bend your knee. The doctor may carefully feel the area around your kneecap and take measurements to determine if the bones are out of alignment or if the thigh muscles are weak.
X-rays may be recommended to see how the kneecap fits in its groove. Your doctor will also want to eliminate other possible reasons for the pain, such as a tear in the cartilage or ligaments of the knee.
One of the precautions that many doctors will deem necessary, if you suffer from an unstable patella, is to wear a knee brace. Braces can vary in complexity from a simple cloth sleeve that is worn over the knee to complex devices constructed from some lightweight metal, cloth, drtyex and other materials. The type of knee brace you choose to wear should depend on the severity of your condition. The main purpose of wearing a knee brace, in this situation, however, is to prevent your kneecap from slipping too far out of its normal position.
A knee brace will support your knee and perform some of the function that is usually performed by the knee. This takes some of the pressure of supporting your body weight off your knee. If you have an unstable knee, then this is very important to prevent your kneecap from becoming dislocated. It also helps to prevent your knee from sustaining other serious injuries.
If you have problems with a dislocating knee cap then you should seriously consider a knee brace today. These supports can really help to keep your patella aligned.
If the kneecap has been completely dislocated out of its groove, the first step is to return the kneecap to its proper place. This process is called reduction. Sometimes, reduction happens spontaneously. Other times, your doctor will have to apply gentle force to push the kneecap back in place.
A dislocation often damages the underside of the kneecap and the end of the thighbone, which can lead to additional pain and arthritis. Arthroscopic surgery can correct this condition.
If the kneecap is only partially dislocated, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatments, such as exercises and braces. Exercises will help strengthen the muscles in your thigh so that the kneecap stays aligned.
Cycling is often recommended as part of the physical therapy. A stabilizing brace may also be prescribed. The goal is for you to return to your normal activities within 1 to 3 months.
A chronic condition, in which the knee continues to be unstable, can often be corrected by surgery. For example, surgery can be used to realign and tighten tendons to keep the kneecap on track, or to release tissues that pull the kneecap off track.
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