Patellar or kneecap dislocations are injuries that occur with significant regularity, especially in young and active teens. Most injuries occur laterally and are accompanied by severe pain and swelling. The immediate remedial action following a patellar dislocation is to relocate the kneecap back to the trochlear groove. This is often performed without you even knowing it as it automatically pops in when you straighten your leg.
Patellar dislocations can happen for various reasons, ranging from contact to non-contact scenarios. An athlete involved in impact or contact sports can suffer from it due to a sudden change in direction, causing a twisting action on the kneecap and a subsequent dislocation . This is classified as non-contact since it does not involve a third party. One of the pre-requisites for this to happen is the existence of a weak knee ligament to hold the knee properly in place. Another method is a direct impact onto the knee, causing a much more serious injury. This will cause the surrounding muscles and tissues to be damaged rather heavily as well.
Patellar dislocations can be prevented by performing simple strengthening exercises. Strong knee muscles can help to significantly reduce the recovery time, experience lesser pain and be at a lower risk of injuries. There are 4 main muscle groups in the knee that should be targeted and they are the front thigh muscles, back thigh muscles, buttock muscles and lower leg muscles. The front thigh muscles or quadriceps muscles straighten your leg whenever they contract and they help to ensure that your patellar is in the proper position at the thigh bone. It also works hand in hand with the hamstring muscles. The back thigh muscles which are the hamstring muscles help in knee flexion, extension, transfer of energy and forward propulsion. Strong hamstring muscles can help to perform all these roles much more effectively and prevent injuries. The buttock muscles or gluteal muscles help to bend and flex the hip joint to allow us to perform actions such as walking, jumping and running with ease. A weak gluteal muscle will result in the inability to provide the explosive power and lead to a higher risk of injuries. Last but not least are the lower leg muscles or the calf muscles. It runs from the back of the leg all the way until the ankle. Strong calf muscles help to lift the feet up with minimal effort and support the knees and hips. Since the entire body weight is acting on the calf muscles, weak ones will cause the knee and hip muscles to have to take over this role and increase the risk of injuries.
Patellar dislocations are nasty injuries that will cause a lot of discomfort and disrupt to daily activities. Studies have shown that the risk of recurrent dislocations is high once a patellar dislocation occurs and this will result in problems if you wish to continue playing sports.