Dislocated Knee

What is a dislocated knee?

A dislocated knee occurs when the kneecap (patella) pops out from its normal position. This can occur as the result of force or — more often — is related to a developmental condition that leads to an improper alignment of the kneecap with the thighbone (femur). This is sometimes called "unstable kneecap."

Who is at risk for a dislocated knee?

Kneecap dislocations typically occur in active teenagers and young adults from the ages of 14 to 20 years old. They are most common in teenage athletes who participate in contact sports, such as football and those suffering simple falls from a wide variety of activities such as gymnastics, dancing or cheerleading. A family history of knee instability that leads to dislocation is present in one fourth of patients with dislocated patellas.

Care for dislocated knees

If your child is physically active and participates in contact sports and other activities, they may be more prone to having a dislocated patella. While our team of doctors at the Boston Children’s Hospital Lower Extremity Program is committed to helping stabilize and re-strengthen your child's knee, they're also interested in helping active young people prevent these injuries in the first place.

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