Kneecap dislocation

A kneecap dislocation arises if the kneecap is driven out forcefully from its normal position in the knee joint. The injury is common among young individuals engaging in sports, elderly and those with predisposing risk factors including those with a history of the injury.

What are the possible causes?

A kneecap dislocation can be triggered by the following factors:

  • Knee injuries, typically from direct impact or twisting movement of the knee or ankle
  • Sports injuries
  • Fall injuries such as stumbling or slipping on steps or objects
  • Vehicular accidents

What are the indications?

The usual indications of a kneecap dislocation typically include the following:

  • Intense knee pain and tenderness
    Kneecap dislocation

    Knee pain at the upper part during and after activity.

  • Evident deformity of the joint
  • Kneecap is movable to the left and right to a higher degree than normal
  • Redness and swelling
  • Inability to move the knee joint where the affected leg moves back to its original position after being flexed in some cases
  • Contusion or bruising depending on the form of trauma sustained
  • Sensory disruptions such as numbness or tingling or even both in the distal limb

Management of a kneecap dislocation

Call for emergency assistance if the injury is due to trauma or accident.

  • The individual should not be moved if other injuries are suspected or if he/she is unable to walk or move.
  • Encourage the individual to sit without much movement in a comfortable position
  • If the kneecap has returned to its original position, avoid placing any pressure on the affected limb or attempt to walk but seek medical care right away.
  • Apply an ice pack on the site of injury to lessen the swelling and pain if there are no open wounds.
  • In case there is bleeding from an accompanying wound, apply pressure to control the bleeding.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on kneecap dislocation is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs of injury, register for a first aid and CPR course with Red Deer First Aid.

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