Dislocation Kneecap

DK1 300x224 Dislocation KneecapKneecap dislocation occurs when the triangle-shaped bone covering the knee (patella) moves or slides out of place. The problem usually occurs toward the outside of the leg.


Kneecap (patella) dislocation is often seen in women and athletes. It usually occurs after a sudden change in direction when your leg is planted. This puts your kneecap under stress.

Dislocation may also occur as a direct result of injury. When the kneecap is dislocated, it can slip sideways and around to the outside of the knee.

Here are the following symptoms of kneecap dislocation:

• Knee appears to be deformed

• Knee is bent and cannot straighten

• Kneecap (patella) dislocates to the outside of the knee

• Knee pain and tenderness

• Knee swelling

“Sloppy”  kneecap — you can move the kneecap too much from right to left (hypermobile patella)

DK2 300x169 Dislocation KneecapThe first few times this occurs, you will feel pain and be unable to walk. However, if dislocations continue to occur and are untreated, you may feel less pain and have less immediate disability. This is not a reason to avoid treatment. Kneecap dislocation damages your knee joint


• Do not try to treat yourself or another athlete when a dislocation has occurred other than to immobilize the knee with a splint with the leg in a straightened position, if possible.
• Get medical help immediately.
• A physician can manually move the kneecap back into position when the leg is straightened.
• Ice packs can be used 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day to reduce swelling.
• If not treated, the episodes become less painful and result in less disability, but the damage to the knee joint remains until it is treated.


It is impossible to prevent all kneecap dislocations, but there are some steps you can take to make the injury less likely to occur or reoccur.

• Use proper technique when exercising or playing sports.

•Warm up by jogging or doing other activity to raise the body temperature enough to break a sweat.

• Warm up by going through the movements—starting slowly and gradually increasing the speed—required in your sport.

These following exercises can strengthen the muscles that support the knee joint, enhance flexibility, and reduce your chances of a dislocated kneecap. Include them in your movement prep (warm-up) routine.

 • Foam Roll – (for the lateral quad and tenor fascia latea)

 Starting Position

•Face down on ground with foam roll under the front of your thigh


• Roll the quad from your hip to just above your knee

Coaching Keys

• For added benefit, cross one leg over the other, placing all your body weight on the front of one thigh

• The more uncomfortable it is, the more that muscle needs to be massaged

• Hold on sore spots for an extended time to release them

•Roll slightly on the outside and inside as well as down the front of the thigh

You Should Feel It

• As if you were getting a massage

• Glute Bridge Double Leg with Pad

Starting Position

• On back with knees bent to 90 degrees


• Squeeze a rolled-up towel, a doubledover Thera-Band pad, or even a ball between your knees

• Lift your hips into the air and then return to the starting position

•Repeat for the prescribed number of reps

Coaching Keys

•Fire (squeeze) your glutes

You Should Feel It

• In your glutes, and to a lesser degree in your hamstrings and lower back

 • Forward Lunge Elbow to Instep

Starting Position

• Standing


• Step forward into lunge with right foot

• Place left hand on the ground and right elbow to the inside of the right foot, and hold stretch for1 -2 seconds

•Place right hand outside of foot and push hips to sky

•Drop hips and step into next repetition with the other leg

•Continue for prescribed number of repetitions

Coaching Keys

• Keep back knee off ground

• Contract back glute during stretch

You Should Feel It

• Stretch in both groins, back leg hip flexor, front leg glute and hamstring

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