As long as your kneecap (patella) stays in its groove in the knee, you can walk, run, sit, stand, and move easily. When the kneecap slips out of the groove, problems and pain often result.
Cause & Symptoms
The kneecap connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the shinbone (tibia). As you bend or straighten your leg, the kneecap is pulled up or down.
The thighbone (femur) has a V-shaped notch (femoral groove) at one end to accommodate the moving kneecap. In a normal knee, the kneecap fits nicely in the groove. But if the groove is uneven or too shallow, the kneecap could slide off, resulting in a partial or complete dislocation.
A sharp blow to the kneecap, as in a fall, could also pop the kneecap out of place.
Knee buckles and can no longer support your weight
Kneecap slips off to the side
Knee catches during movement
Pain in the front of the knee that increases with activity
Pain when sitting
Creaking or cracking sounds during movement
During the physical examination, your doctor may ask you to walk around or to straighten and bend your knee.
The doctor may carefully feel the area around your kneecap and take measurements to determine if the bones are out of alignment or if the thigh muscles are weak.
X-rays may be recommended to see how the kneecap fits in its groove. Your doctor will also want to eliminate other possible reasons for the pain, such as a tear in the cartilage or ligaments of the knee. An MRI may be necessary and occasionally a CT scan is needed.
Great Lakes Physical Therapy
|The Physical Therapy team at Great Lakes Orthopedics offer a wide range of programs and specialized services to help our patients restore and maintain their physical strength, performance skills, and levels of function. Our well-trained, professional staff utilize the most progressive treatment options and techniques to ensure the best possible recoveries.|