Patella (Kneecap) Dislocation

The kneecap, or patella, is normally positioned over the front of the knee joint at the base of the thighbone (femur). A kneecap can be dislocated, or moved out of its normal position, when:

  • The inner edge of the kneecap is hit, pushing it toward the outer side of the leg. This can happen more easily if the kneecap is already slightly out of place (also known as patellar tracking disorder).
  • The foot is firmly planted pointing outward, and the knee is bent, with the thigh turned inward. This kind of injury is common during many sports activities.

Symptoms of a dislocated kneecap may include:

  • Severe pain.
  • A misshapen knee that looks like a bone is out of position.
  • A popping sensation followed by a feeling that something is out of place.
  • Inability to bend or straighten the knee.
  • Knee swelling.
  • Cool, pale skin or numbness and tingling in or below the affected knee.

A dislocation can cause other problems even if the bone pops back into place.

  • If the dislocation was due to weak thigh muscles or a problem with the alignment or structure of the knee bones, the knee may dislocate again.
  • Ligaments, tendons, muscles, and cartilage in or around the joint may stretch or tear.
  • A piece of bone may break off somewhere in the knee joint.

MedSport Locations

Ann Arbor Domino's Farms
4008 Ave Maria Dr
Lobby A, Suite 1000
Ann Arbor, MI 48106.
734-930-7400

Ann Arbor Ice Cube
2121 Oak Valley Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734-998-8600

Brighton Center for Specialty Care
7500 Challis Rd, Brighton MI 48116
810-263-4000

Northville Health Center
39901 Traditions Drive
Suite 110
Northville, MI 48168
248-305-4400