Patellar Dislocation commonly known as a dislocated kneecap is a common knee injury among young athletes. It should be pointed out that kneecap dislocation is not the same as a knee dislocation. A dislocated knee is a more serious and painful injury although that is not to say that a dislocated patella is not serious or painful. When a knee dislocation occurs the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia) are no longer connected. Most times the leg will be deformed accompanied by extreme pain. Generally, major ligaments such as the ACL and PCL are torn in the event of a knee dislocation. A high trauma incident to the knee such as getting hit by a car is normally needed to cause knee dislocation.
A dislocated kneecap is a different type of injury. The kneecap, or patella, is a small triangular bone in the knee that starts as cartilage as a newborn and forms into bone over time. The patella is set into a groove known as the patellofemoral groove and is connected by ligaments and tendons. When the patella moves out of the patellofemoral groove it is called a patellar dislocation. Most times the kneecap will dislocate laterally. If the kneecap partially dislocates it is called subluxation.
Kneecap Dislocation Causes and Symptoms
The causes that lead to a dislocated kneecap tend to include two incidences. First and most common is the twisting of the knee when the foot is planted. This most likely happens during sports such as basketball, soccer, skiing, and football. Second, the patella can be dislocated from a direct blow to the knee. The blow needs to be a strong one to knock the kneecap from its groove. This can happen in everyday life but generally happens in high knee contact sports like football and soccer. Other ways it can happen include an imbalance in the knee joints or a kneecap already having been dislocated once and thus dislocating again. A kneecap dislocated once is more likely to repeat dislocation. Kneecap dislocation is also more prominent in females than males and younger people than older people.
Symptoms of a dislocated kneecap can include swelling, knee pain, deformity of the kneecap laterally due to dislocation, an ability to move the kneecap easily from side to side, and possibly the leg not being able to straighten. In some events, the LCL (lateral collateral ligament) or MCL (medial collateral ligament) may be damaged.
Patellar Dislocation Treatment
The first step when a kneecap is dislocated should be to splint it and then be taken to a doctor so that it can be examined. The first form of treatment for the dislocated kneecap that the doctor will do is put the kneecap back into place in its patellofemoral groove.
Before further treatment for the dislocated kneecap is prescribed the doctor will do an x-ray of the knee and probably an MRI. These are done before treatment is given to ensure that there is no bone fractures, stray bone or cartilage fragments, or injured ligaments in the knee that could cause greater problems. If there is damage found or if the kneecap dislocation is a repeat injury, patellar dislocation surgery may be recommended.
If nothing is found the preferred treatment to help with a dislocated kneecap’s recovery is physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles around the knee such as the hamstring and the quadriceps. Physical therapy will help to strengthen the knee again and to help keep the knee from dislocating again. Physical therapy will most likely be recommended for recovery after kneecap dislocation surgery when the knee is removed from its cast. In both instances, a good brace can help the healing process and prevent the kneecap from dislocating again during the healing process. BraceAbility has great braces for patellar dislocation and that can benefit a recovering kneecap.
Kneecap Dislocation Braces and Sleeves
Someone who has dislocated a kneecap once is more likely to do so again. The more a kneecap dislocates the more likely one is to get knee arthritis. To help prevent re-dislocation of the kneecap a good knee brace may help to stabilize the kneecap during sports or just daily activities. Knee braces or sleeves can help the knee recover and keep it from getting injured again while the kneecap is healing. Some sleeves help with blood flow to the knee and can help reduce swelling. Besides patellar dislocation braces, Braceability also carries great subluxation braces.
One good patellar dislocation braces include the patella stabilizer knee brace. The patella stabilizer is great for stabilizing the knee with its rigid build while allowing the knee to breathe and stay cool. It is the best knee brace for helping the knee heal from a patellar dislocation. This brace will help keep complacent the ligaments and tendons in the knee, which may be injured. Also, the patella stabilizer is a great brace for stabilizing a kneecap that has undergone subluxation.