Your kneecaps are vital to your mobility. They do more than just protect your knee joints: as your knees bend, they amplify the force of your thigh muscles. Without your kneecap, it would take tremendous effort to straighten your leg.
An unstable kneecap poses a significant risk to your ability to walk. If you think you have an unstable kneecap, continue reading to learn more about this condition and how an orthopedic clinic can help you.
Symptoms of an Unstable Kneecap
The femoral groove is at the lower end of your thigh bone or femur. It is a V-shaped notch that works to accommodate all the movements of your kneecap. Normally, your kneecaps should fit neatly into these spaces. However, if the grooves are too shallow or uneven, it can lead to unstable kneecaps.
An unstable kneecap, also called patellar instability, can manifest as a loose feeling in your knee.
Here are the most common symptoms of an unstable kneecap:
- Warm to the touch
- Crunching or popping noises when moving
- Difficulty in fully straightening the knee
Several factors can contribute to having an unstable kneecap. Here are the most common ones:
Obesity increases pressure on your knee joints. This also applies to daily activities such as walking and climbing the stairs. Being overweight also puts you at a higher risk of contracting knee arthritis.
Poor Muscle Flexibility
If you’re someone who lacks muscle strength and flexibility, you may be at risk of developing an unstable kneecap. When your muscles are weak, your joints are not stabilized and protected well. Having poor muscle flexibility can also lead to a poor range of motion.
Sports and Occupations
Certain sports and occupations can put you at a higher risk of developing an unstable kneecap. Among the sports that can lead to having an unstable kneecap are:
- Alpine skiing
- Basketball and other sports involving rapid directional changes
- Running and jogging
If you had a previous knee injury, you may be at risk of reinjury.
When to Visit an Orthopedic Clinic
Knee pain is very common. You may think that it’s unnecessary to seek medical help for treatment and that all you need is rest. However, having your knee checked by a professional at an orthopedic clinic can help you understand the condition of your knees.
If you’re unsure whether or not you should seek the help of an orthopedic clinic, watch out for these signs of when to see a knee doctor:
If the pain you feel due to an unstable kneecap has affected your daily life and disrupted your sleep, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
Swelling usually is an indicator of an injury to the ligament or cartilage. If the swelling on your knee doesn’t subside on its own, it will need to be checked by a knee specialist.
Knee deformity can happen due to the dislocation of your kneecap. If you can see an obvious deformity, an orthopedic doctor can help put your knee back in place.
Inability to Bear Weight on the Knee
If your knees start to buckle when you stand up, it can be a sign of a knee ligament injury.
An Audible Pop
One of the most telltale signs of a knee injury is a popping sound.
How Can an Orthopedic Clinic Help?
Prompt at-home care for an unstable kneecap can help you manage the discomfort associated with it. However, if your case of an unstable kneecap is severe, home treatment may be insufficient to alleviate the pain.
As such, the evaluation and diagnosis of an orthopedic doctor are still important. These medical professionals are experts at diagnosing and prescribing treatment for musculoskeletal concerns and conditions.
First, you may undergo a series of imaging tests, so your doctor can have a detailed picture of your knee. It can include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. With this, your orthopedist can determine the medication to prescribe.
The doctor may also recommend staying active or enrolling in physical therapy to help your recovery. If this course of treatment does not work, your orthopedic clinic may switch to using pain-relief injections or surgery.
Together, you and your orthopedic doctor can figure out the combination of treatments that will work best for you.
Orthopedic Clinic In San Antonio, TX
If you’re worried that you have an unstable kneecap, don’t hesitate to call your orthopedic clinic. An orthopedic doctor can help diagnose and treat your concerns.
If you’re looking for a knee doctor in San Antonio, you’re in luck! Here at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, you can talk to our friendly team about scheduling a consultation with an experienced orthopedic doctor. Setting up an appointment is easy. You can use our online appointment form or call us at (210) 692-7400.
We look forward to helping you recover from an unstable kneecap!