Our Pediatric Sports Medicine team put together these videos to provide information for you.
The patella, or kneecap, is the small bone that connects the quadriceps muscles of the thigh to the tibia, or leg bone. Patellar instability occurs when the patella slides out of place. In young athletes this can be caused by a direct blow to the knee. It may also occur if the patella is misshapen, if the groove the patella sits in is shallow or tilted, or because of weakness in the muscles, tissues or ligaments.
Symptoms depend on the severity of the instability, and can range from stiffness after sitting for a long time or pain with activities like climbing stairs, to the patella buckling or catching and coming out of the groove completely.
Treatment depends on the severity of the dislocation. If the patella hasn’t completely dislocated, treatment may include exercises, physical therapy and a brace. If the patella is completely dislocated or symptoms persist, it may have to be put back in the groove if it doesn’t pop back in by itself. Sometimes cartilage and bone can be knocked off the patella or femur when it dislocates. In such cases, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary to remove or fix the pieces of bone or cartilage.
Rehabilitation and recovery
Most patients are typically able to return to activity 2-3 months after surgery. We work with our patients to develop a care and therapy plan that meets their individual needs.
If your child has knee pain and you’re concerned he or she may have patellar dislocation, call 727-76SPORT to schedule an appointment with our Sports Medicine physicians, who will determine a diagnosis and recommend further treatment.
If your child has been diagnosed with patellar dislocation and you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopaedic surgeons, call Children’s Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates (COSSA), L.L.P., at 727-898-2663. Surgical treatment for sports injuries at Johns Hopkins All Children’s is provided by the surgeons at COSSA.
Meet our surgeons
Drew Warnick, MD Orthopaedics
Dr. Warnick is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He sees patients in the St. Petersburg and Tampa locations of Children's Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates (COSSA), L.L.P., the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care locations in East Lake and Pasco, and at IMG Academy where Johns Hopkins All Children’s provides sports medicine and general health services.
View Drew’s Bio
Paul Benfanti, MD Orthopaedics
Dr. Benfanti is a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He sees patients in the St. Petersburg and Tampa locations of Children's Orthopaedic and Scoliosis Surgery Associates (COSSA), L.L.P., and the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care locations in East Lake and Pasco.
View Paul’s Bio