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Patellar instability is a range of injuries that occur when the patella, or kneecap, is displaced from its intended resting place. The causes include a traumatic dislocation, such as occurs during a sport activity, or a displacement caused by daily activities.

Most of the patella injuries develop when your foot is placed on the ground and then you change or twist your direction. Direct blow to the knee cap also causes the injury. Risk factors include laxity or joint looseness, and girls are at higher risk than boys.

Symptoms of Patella Instability

You may experience:

  • Swollen joints
  • Pain on the inner patella
  • Difficulty in straightening the knee
  • Uneasiness while moving the patella outside the knee


  • Cases that are not severe i.e most first time dislocations could be reduced by straightening the knee. Knee mobilizers are given to reduce swelling and heal the knee.
  • Surgery is suggested in case of cartilage or bone fragments in the knee to fix the injuries. In most cases, surgery is not needed for the first-time dislocation.
  • In case of recurrent dislocation, surgical intervention is required. It includes ligament reconstruction, bone and soft tissue realignment, fixing cartilage and bone injuries.
  • Treatment consists of knee immobiliser for around four weeks, and physiotherapy for six weeks.

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