Patellar instability occurs when the kneecap (also known as the patella) slips out of where it sits in the knee joint (the trochlear groove). Normally, the kneecap glides smoothly in this groove, allowing it to track in a straight line. Some people refer to this condition as patellar dislocation or unstable kneecap.
Patellofemoral pain is felt in the front of the knee.
Some people only have one episode of patellar instability; others experience it frequently.
Sometimes patellar instability is caused by:
Sometimes patellofemoral pain is caused by:
People who are at the greatest risk for patellar instability and patellofemoral pain are:
The most common symptoms and effects of patellar instability include:
The most common symptoms and effects related to patellofemoral pain include:
At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, specialists typically diagnose patellar instability or patellofemoral pain by:
Patellar instability and patellofemoral pain are usually treated effectively without surgery. Typical treatments include:
In some cases—when severe pain isn’t minimized through nonsurgical treatments—surgery is needed. The most common surgeries include:
To help your child minimize kneecap pain and live a full and active life, leading experts at Gillette in pediatric orthopedics collaborate to develop a custom treatment plan.
Sometimes treatment includes working with a variety of specialists. If your child has patellar instability or patellofemoral pain, your family might work with these Gillette teams: