A patellar dislocation is a commonplace injury that involves the patella (aka the "knee cap".) The patella is situated in the patellofemoral cavity between the distal femur and the tibia, held in place by a number of ligaments and tendons. These ligaments can be damaged by a direct blow to the knee or an awkward motion, which in turn can lead to the knee cap sliding out of place. Most of these dislocations involve the patella moving laterally to the left or right side. The result is severe swelling, reduced mobility and an intense pain felt inside of the knee cap. There several sports particularly associated with these sorts of injuries, including hockey, gymnastics, rugby, football and soccer. Some other factors that put an individual at risk include:
- Age – People between the ages of 16 to 20 years tend to have the highest occurrences of patellar dislocation due to a higher rate of aggressive sports participation.
- Gender – Women are more susceptible to these injuries because of how their hips distribute the body's weight.
- Genetics – These sorts of injuries tend to run in families due to physiological similarities. Some birth defects can also increase the likelihood of injury.
In most patellar dislocation cases, people are able to slide the patella back into place with a simple leg extension resulting in a distinctive knee pop, but in some instances the injury is just too great. In these cases, many doctors will recommend a patellar stabilizer knee brace which should be worn for (at least) two to three weeks. These braces are often used in conjunction with professional physical rehabilitation. Many doctors also recommend taking a glucosamine supplement which is believed to keep ligaments strong. If instability continues beyond 8 to 12 weeks, speak with your doctor about more aggressive options, as in some rare instances, surgery may be the best option for patella ligament repair.
Note: This information is not intended to supplement or replace advice from a medical professional, or to diagnose or treat any condition.
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