Dislocation or subluxation of the patella or “kneecap” is a common acute injury for young athletes, especially in sports and activities such as basketball, football, lacrosse, gymnastics and dance. These injuries may be routinely observed in clinic, and depending on severity, may warrant a referral to a pediatric orthopedic specialist.
The term “patellofemoral instability” can refer to both the condition in which an individual experiences a traumatic dislocation of their patella, and the general instability that a patient can feel or a physician may observe upon examination. In both cases, there are observations that may be made or treatments that can be provided that may reduce the risk of a dislocation event occurring in the future, as well as protect a young athlete from further damage.
Notes talked to Matthew Milewski, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Boston Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, about how to best care for young athletes with patellofemoral instability.