BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuKneecap dislocationDislocation - kneecap; Patellar dislocation or instabilityKneecap dislocation occurs when the round-shaped bone covering the knee (patella) moves or slides out of place. The dislocation often occurs toward the outside of the leg. Causes Kneecap (patella) often occurs after a sudden change in direction when your leg is planted. This puts your kneecap under stress. This can occur when playing certain sports, such as basketball.Dislocation may also occur as result of direct trauma. When the kneecap is dislocated, it can slip sideways to the outside of the knee. Symptoms Symptoms of kneecap dislocation include:Knee appears to be deformed Knee is bent and cannot be straightened out Kneecap (patella) dislocates to the outside of the knee Knee pain and tenderness Knee painKnee pain is a common symptom in people of all ages. It may start suddenly, often after an injury or exercise. Knee pain also may begin as a mild d...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Knee swelling Knee swellingJoint swelling is the buildup of fluid in the soft tissue surrounding the joint.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article "Sloppy" kneecap -- you can move the kneecap too much from right to left (hypermobile patella)The first few times this occurs, you will feel pain and be unable to walk. If you continue to have dislocations, your knee may not hurt as much and you may not be as disabled. This is not a reason to avoid treatment. Kneecap dislocation damages your knee joint. It can lead to cartilage injuries and increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis at a younger age. Repeat dislocations will make the condition worse and harder to treat. First Aid If you can, straighten out your knee. If it is stuck and painful to move, stabilize (splint) the knee and get medical attention.Your health care provider will examine your knee. This may confirm that the kneecap is dislocated.Your provider may order a knee x-ray or an MRI. These tests can show if the dislocation caused a broken bone or cartilage damage. If tests show that you have no damage, your knee will be placed into an immobilizer or cast to prevent you from moving it. You will need to wear this for about 3 weeks.Knee x-rayThis test is an x-ray of a knee, shoulder, hip, wrist, ankle, or other joint.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Once you are no longer in a cast, physical therapy can help build back your muscle strength and improve the knee's range of motion.If there is damage to the bone and cartilage, or if the kneecap continues to be unstable, you may need surgery to stabilize the kneecap. This may be done using arthroscopic or open surgery.ArthroscopicKnee arthroscopy is surgery that uses a tiny camera to look inside your knee. Small cuts are made to insert the camera and small surgical tools into...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if you injure your knee and have symptoms of dislocation.Call your provider if you are being treated for a dislocated knee and you notice:Increased instability in your knee Pain or swelling return after they went away SwellingSwelling is the enlargement of organs, skin, or other body parts. It is caused by a buildup of fluid in the tissues. The extra fluid can lead to a ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Your injury does not appear to be getting better with timeAlso call your provider if you re-injure your knee. Prevention Use proper techniques when exercising or playing sports. Keep your knees strong and flexible.Some cases of knee dislocation may not be preventable, especially if physical factors make you more likely to dislocate your knee.Open ReferencesReferencesMascioli AA. Acute dislocations. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 60.Naples RM, Ufberg JW. Management of common dislocations. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 49.Sherman SL, Hinckel BB, Farr J. Patellar instability. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee, Drez, & Miller's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 105.AllVideoImagesTogArthroscopy - illustration Knee arthroscopy is surgery that is done to check for problems, using a tiny camera to see inside your knee. Other medical instruments may also be inserted to repair your knee. ArthroscopyillustrationPatellar dislocation - illustration Dislocation usually occurs as a result of sudden direction changes while running and the knee is under stress or it may occur as a direct result of injury.Patellar dislocationillustrationKnee arthroscopy - series - Normal anatomyPresentation Arthroscopy - illustration Knee arthroscopy is surgery that is done to check for problems, using a tiny camera to see inside your knee. Other medical instruments may also be inserted to repair your knee. ArthroscopyillustrationPatellar dislocation - illustration Dislocation usually occurs as a result of sudden direction changes while running and the knee is under stress or it may occur as a direct result of injury.Patellar dislocationillustration Knee arthroscopy - series - Normal anatomyPresentation Self Care Kneecap dislocation - aftercareRelated Information Dislocation(Injury)Joint x-ray(Medical Test) Review Date: 11/12/2020 Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.