Patella Dislocation and Patellar Subluxation

Patella dislocation and patellar subluxation are knee cap conditions where the knee cap suffers displacement from its regular position. While both are knee cap problems, they differ in intensity and the frequency of dislocations.

The causes for each condition vary, as do the symptoms and treatment options. In this blog, with insights from a top knee replacement surgeon and the best sports doctor in Mumbai, Dr. Chirag Patel, let us understand the differences and improve awareness about these conditions. For better understanding, let us have a direct comparison between these two conditions:

Patella Dislocation vs Patellar Subluxation: What are they?

The patella, also known as the knee cap, is a small triangular bone at the front of the knee joint. It acts as a frontal cover for the knee, aiding in the smooth functioning of the knee joint, providing stability, optimizing muscle function, and preventing excessive wear and tear of the underlying knee structures. In rare cases, the patella may temporarily or immediately dislocate from its intended position.

Patella Dislocation:

Patellar dislocation occurs when the knee cap is forcefully pushed out of its intended position due to a sudden traumatic event, such as a direct blow to the knee, a sudden change in direction during knee movements, or an excessive and forceful contraction of the quadriceps.

Patellar Subluxation:

Patellar subluxation is a temporary and partial displacement of the kneecap. Unlike dislocation, in subluxation cases, the knee cap returns to its normal position after a temporary dislocation, which can be a recurrent event. Subluxations sometimes occur without any apparent reason, where the knee cap repeatedly shifts out of place partially.

Patella Dislocation vs Patellar Subluxation – Causes & Symptoms

Patellar dislocation mainly occurs due to direct trauma experienced by the patella. Excessive and sudden movements and muscular imbalances can also increase the risk of it happening. On the other hand, patellar subluxation is more triggered by anatomical issues, repetitive stress, knee overuse, and muscular weakness, indicating non-traumatic events.

Immediate and severe pain accompanied by swelling and bruising around the knee is the common symptom of patellar dislocation. The instability of straightening or bending of the knee, visible deformity, and weakness in the knee are other common symptoms of this condition.

As for patellar subluxation, the feeling of the knee giving away, pain, tenderness, swelling, and limited range of motion are other common symptoms recurrent with patellar subluxations.

Patella Dislocation vs Patellar Subluxation – Treatment Options:

The treatment approaches for patella dislocation and patellar subluxation differ based on the nature, severity, and pain level associated with the dislocated kneecap. “Treatment for patellar dislocation involves immediate care for the relocated patella. This includes the RICE protocol, immobilization, and carefully selected rehabilitation exercises. In severe and recurrent cases, surgery may also be considered to treat patellar dislocations,” says the best knee replacement surgeon in Mumbai, Dr. Chirag Patel.

As for patellar subluxations, the treatment often begins with conservative measures such as rest, braces, and physical therapy that address muscle imbalances and weaknesses. Activity modification and orthotic devices may further improve the condition and reduce the risk of subluxations.

In cases that are unresponsive to conservative approaches, surgery may be used to correct underlying anatomical defects and reduce the risk of subluxation. In addition to these treatment approaches, pain management and rehabilitation play a vital role in treating and recovering from these knee conditions. If you are in Mumbai and are looking for treatment for patellar subluxation and patellar dislocation, Dr. Chirag Patel is the best knee specialist in Mumbai, with an excellent track record in treating these knee cap problems with both conservative and surgical approaches. You can contact him.