Patella Instability

What is patella instability, and how is it treated?

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What Is Patellar Instability?

The patella (kneecap) attaches to the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) via the quadriceps and patellar tendon. It sits in the trochlear groove in the knee and slides up and down as the knee bends and straightens.

Patella instability is most often seen in children and occurs when the patella does not stay within the groove in the knee and seems to slide in and out of position.

There are two main types of patellar instability:


Traumatic patellar dislocation: The kneecap is forcefully pushed completely outside the groove due to a direct blow to the knee. This causes the patella to no longer stay within the groove of the knee, especially during activity.

Chronic patellar instability: The kneecap “slides” partially in and out of the groove during activity.

If your child has patellar instability the symptoms can include:

  • Knee pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • A feeling of the knee “buckling”
  • A feeling of “catching” or “locking” in the knee
  • Visible deformity in the knee

The Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at OrthoNeuro have helped thousands of patients with patellar instability return to an active and healthy lifestyle using a variety of treatment options.

How Is Patellar Instability Treated at OrthoNeuro?

Depending upon the category of patellar instability and the severity of the condition, there are several treatment options.

In many cases, your OrthoNeuro Specialist recommends conservative treatment options for patellar instability after the patella is manually returned to the correct position within the knee.

These treatment options can include:

  • Bracing
  • Immobilization
  • Physical Therapy

In some cases, the cartilage within the knee may be damaged and therefore an arthroscopic surgical procedure may be recommended to remove the damaged cartilage.

If your child continues to have chronic patellar dislocations after conservative treatment, an arthroscopic procedure (known as an osteotomy) may be recommended.

During this procedure, the groove within the knee is reshaped so that the kneecap can sit in its correct position.

The Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeons at OrthoNeuro are experts in these procedures and have helped thousands of patients return to an active and healthy lifestyle following these procedures.

    Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Knee Specialist Today!

    If you have been experiencing symptoms of patellar instability, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

    We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you.

    Knee Specialists

    If you have a severe knee injury or chronic knee pain that reduces your mobility or quality of life, contact OrthoNeuro to schedule a consultation. Our expert orthopedic surgeons are on hand to diagnose and treat your knee problem.

    Michael B. Cannone, DO

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    Mark E. Gittins, DO, FAOAO

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    Ryan M. Palmer, DO

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    B. Rodney Comisar, MD, FAAOS

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    J. Mark Hatheway, MD

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    Mark T. Kolich, D.O.

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    Keith A. LaDu, DO

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    Jeremy R. Mathis, DO

    Orthopedic Surgeon

    Meniscus repair six months ago. Surgery went smoothly. Dr. set realistic expectations that have been met. Great team to work with

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