Chronic Knee Dislocation – When Things Do not Line Up Right – Knee Braces That Can Help


How is your kneecap (patella) doing? Do you have problems with it being unstable?

Chronic knee dislocation is a term often used to describe a dislocation or displacement of the knee cap. It is different from a traumatic dislocation, which is a very serious matter, usually caused by severe trauma to the knee. With a traumatic knee dislocation, the upper and lower leg bones are separated at the knee, and significant damage is usually sustained to the structures both in and around the knee joint (ie torn ligaments, vascular injury, etc.). A traumatic dislocation is extremely painful, generally requires immediate medical attention, and often requires surgery to repair the damage to the joint. If you have any reason to suspect that you have a traumatic dislocation, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. A chronic knee dislocation, on the other hand, is also quite painful, but in many instances, can be treated more conservatively.

With chronic knee dislocation, the knee cap (other called the patella) slips out of place and generally causes irritation, inflammation and a sensation that the knee is weak or "giving out." Basically, the triangular bone we know as the knee cap is designed to move smoothly over the top of the femur (upper leg bone), staying within a certain groove which nature designed for that purpose. When chronic knee cap dislocation occurs, the caprays outside of that groove, adversely affecting the other structures (ie muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) in and around the knee. Consequently, the knee does not bend properly, feels stiff, achy or painful, and may appear swollen. Your knee may also make a "popping" sound upon movement. This condition may come and go as the cap slips in and out of the groove, and the pain from chronic knee dislocation may vary in intensity.

Generally, if the condition becomes quite sufficient and if it significantly interposes with your activities, you may need to discuss your options, including possible surgery, with your physician. However, in the interim, the use of a brace may help relieve the condition and allow you to function more normally without experiencing frequent chronic knee dislocation.

Knee braces come in a variety of styles and types. Generally, though, one of the main purposes of a knee brace in this instance, is to keep your knee cap in its proper position within the femoral groove. A knee brace can also help lend support to the knee joint so that the pressure and stress that may contribute to chronic knee dislocation are somewhat relieved, making it less likely that the knee cap will be pulled out of alignment. Knee braces do allow for movement, and you can likely perform most, if not all, of your usual activities while wearing one. They are adjustable to fit most knee, are easy to use, and are relatively affordable, especially when compared to other treatment options, such as surgery or extensive therapy.