How does our site make you feel?
Great   Indifferent

Are Your Knees Stiff and Painful? You May Benefit From Patellar Stabilization

Your kneecap, also known as a patella, is a disc-shaped bone that slides back and forth in the center of your knee each time you bend or flex your leg at the knee. It is attached to your thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) with tendons. 

When your patella slips or gets knocked out of its groove, your knee can feel unstable, as if the bones are slipping out of place. That is exactly what happened!  After you dislocate your patella just once, you’re at risk for more dislocations and knee arthritis, too.

David Lintner, MD — a sports medicine specialist — treats patellar instability and kneecap dislocation at Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in both Baytown and Houston, Texas. If physical therapy doesn’t work, he may recommend patellar stabilization to keep your kneecap in place and preserve your knee’s stability, flexibility and health.

How your kneecap slipped

If you’re an athlete — whether pro, school, or weekend warrior — you can dislocate your knee cap if you get hit in the knee, fall on your knee, twist it, or stop short while running. Some people’s knees are built in a way that makes them susceptible to this problem. You or your child may be susceptible to patellar dislocation even without experiencing an injury if you:

You may also have been born with a shallow femoral groove so that your knee cap easily slips out of joint.

What happens when your kneecap slips

When your patella dislocates or slips, you may tear or injure the supporting tendons or ligaments. The patella can also injure nearby soft tissues in the knee joint — including the cartilage — or chip a bone.

Even if your kneecap pops back into place, the temporary dislocation could injure surrounding tissues. Broken bits of cartilage, bone, and tendons can trigger inflammation, swelling, and stiffness.

Patellar dislocation can be treated

If you or your child has a kneecap that feels unstable, Dr. Lintner examines and evaluates its range of motion. He then conducts imaging tests, such as X-rays, to find out which tissues are involved in the injury and to determine if you have loose particles of bone or soft-tissues in your knee joint.

Whenever possible, Dr. Lintner recommends supportive therapies and lifestyle changes to help you heal. If this is your first dislocation and you have no complications or damaged bone, ligaments, or tendons, he may recommend:

If you have complications or experience chronic kneecap dislocations, Dr. Lintner may recommend a minimally invasive surgery called patellar stabilization.

Why a stable knee is important

An unstable knee joint puts you or your child at risk for chronic pain, chronic dislocations, and arthritis. In fact, about half of girls and boys who experience patellar dislocation in childhood develop knee arthritis by the age of 25. 

In most cases, Dr. Lintner performs patellar stabilization with arthroscopic surgery, which is a minimally invasive surgery that utilizes small incisions. Arthroscopic surgery causes less trauma and bleeding than traditional open surgery, speeding your recovery. SOmetimes, though, the ligaments need rebuilding.  This is done with very short incisions.

After a recovery period of 3-4 months, you can return to most of your normal activities. Dr. Lintner also recommends physical therapy to strengthen your knee and to keep it limber. If you’re an athlete, he may advise modifications to the way you move or work out to protect your knee cap from undue stress.

Find out if patellar stabilization is right for your knee pain by scheduling a consultation at our office nearest you today in Houston or Baytown, Texas. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Stretches and Exercises That Help Shoulder Instability

After your shoulder has been dislocated, it can create instability in your joint, limiting your range of motion and strength. If you struggle with shoulder instability, strengthening your shoulder muscles, tendons, and ligaments can help.

Tips for Returning to Play After an ACL Tear

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) stabilizes your knee when you walk, run, and jump. Unfortunately, ACL tears are common and may take athletes out of their game for months or even permanently. With proper rehab, you can play again. Here’s how.

The Benefits of Rehabilitation After a Sports Injury

When you injure yourself playing sports, you want to get back in the game as soon as possible. A sports injury, however, can sideline you completely if you don’t heal correctly. That’s why rehabilitation is essential.

How to Plan for Your Rotator Cuff Surgery

If you’ve torn your rotator cuff, you’ve probably tried everything from rest to steroids to ease the pain and restore mobility. However, in some cases, a surgical solution is the best option. If that’s your situation, here’s what to do.