Knees are crucial components of everything you do when you are on your feet. Any injury to the knee can bring your life to a halt. Having an injury, such as an unstable kneecap, can create unpleasant symptoms that can do just that.
When your kneecap is securely in its groove, your movement will be smooth. However, if it is dislodged, it will be difficult for the knee to function as it is designed to do. Once you get a dislocated kneecap, you are at a higher risk of it happening again. Therefore, it’s important to be precautious about your unstable kneecap.
Anatomical abnormalities are usually the cause of an unstable kneecap. These include a wide pelvis, a shallow groove, and foot irregularities. Individuals with conditions such as osteoarthritis, jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis), and chondromalacia patella are also prone to developing an unstable kneecap.
Symptoms of an Unstable Kneecap
One of the very first signs of an unstable kneecap is knee pain. The following are other symptoms you may experience:
- Buckling knee
- Lack of weight support on the affected knee
- Sliding kneecap and creaking sounds when moving the knee
- Knee catching when moving or bending and straightening the leg
- Pain in the front part of the knee that gets worse with physical activity
- Knee pain even while resting
- Knee joint stiffness
- Knee swelling
Kneecap dislocation can seriously damage your kneecap and the tips of your thighbone, which can lead to severe chronic pain and the development of arthritis in the knee. You should seek immediate medical treatment if you experience these symptoms or suspect you may have a dislocated kneecap.
Diagnosis of an Unstable Kneecap
Diagnosing an unstable kneecap involves evaluation and examination by a doctor. Your doctor may ask you to walk or bend and straighten the knee. Your doctor will also conduct a physical exam and feel your knee area to determine if you indeed have a dislodged kneecap. You will also be asked to recount your symptoms.
Finally, your doctor may order an X-ray to get a better look at what’s going on inside. Since the symptoms of an unstable kneecap are like that of other knee conditions, diagnostic imaging results help eliminate incorrect diagnoses.
Treatment of an Unstable Kneecap
Depending on what your doctor sees fit, conservative treatment methods, such as wearing a brace, might be first recommended for an unstable kneecap. This will ensure the kneecap stays in place and reduces the risk of dislocation.
If your unstable kneecap has led to a dislocation, treatment will include putting the kneecap back in its proper place through reduction. If this doesn’t work or if your dislocated kneecap will not respond positively to it, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic lateral release surgery to correct the dislocation.
Unstable Kneecap Diagnosis and Treatment in South Texas
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our team of orthopedic specialists diagnose and treat a broad range of orthopedic conditions.
If you are experiencing symptoms of an unstable kneecap, call the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at (210) 692-7400 or request an appointment now. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you.