Patellar Instability, Subluxation and Dislocation Treatment in Asheville, NC
Patella is simply the clinical name for your kneecap. The kneecap is a rounded plate of bone that sits over the front of your knee joint. As you bend or straighten your leg, the underside of your kneecap slides over grooves in the bones that form your knee joint. When your kneecap or patella slides out of its groove partway, that is called a subluxation, and when it slides out completely, it is called a dislocation.
The first few times it happens, the pain is extreme and you may experience difficulty walking. If you continue to experience subluxations and dislocations, the pain is not as noticeable but the damage to your knee joint increases.
What Causes Subluxations or Dislocations of Your Kneecap?
Abnormal structure or development of the leg can eventually result in patellar instability, as can underdeveloped or overdeveloped thigh muscles. Trauma, especially when your knee is struck from the side, can knock your kneecap out of its normal groove. It can also happen during normal movement if you simply turn or twist suddenly.
To relieve your swelling and pain, it may be helpful to sit with your knee raised several times a day. On the first day, apply ice packs hourly for 15 minutes, then every 4 hours for the next 3 days or until the pain subsides.
Patellar Instability, Subluxation and Dislocation Diagnosis
You should not attempt to handle a serious knee injury without consulting your healthcare provider, especially if:
- Your kneecap is unstable and continues to subluxate or dislocate
- Your injury is not improving over time, or it improves and then you experience a return of the pain or swelling
- Your knee catches and locks and you experience pain
Physical examination, X-rays or even an MRI may be required to assess the damage to your knee and ensure your kneecap is not cracked or broken. Your healthcare provider will also want to ensure there is no damage to the attached cartilage or tendons in your knee joint.
Patellar Instability, Subluxation and Dislocation Treatment
If subluxation or dislocation is the only issue, your healthcare provider may place your knee in a cast, brace or splint for 1-2 months, and you may require crutches. You should always follow up with your primary care doctor.
Most people experience a complete recovery within 6-8 weeks. It is important to listen to your healthcare provider’s instructions on how much weight to place on your knee. Your doctor or physical therapist may suggest exercises that can strengthen the muscles around your knee.
During your recovery period, you may need to switch to sports or recreational activities that will not cause further damage to your knee. Most people are unaware that bicycling can be less damaging to the knee than running or even walking.
You should not return to sports or strenuous activity until there is no pain when you bend or straighten your leg and until you can run, jump and execute turns while running and experience no pain.
You may require referral to an orthopedic surgeon if your kneecap is unstable or has been damaged. A patella realignment is one surgical option for recurrent subluxations and dislocations.
Request more information about patellar instability, subluxation and dislocation today. Call (423) 482-8711 or contact Dr. Dalal Akoury online.
AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center
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