Dislocated Knee | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of a dislocated knee?

Each child may experience symptoms differently. The most common symptoms include:

  • pain in the front of the knee that increases with activity
  • swelling and/or stiffness
  • kneecap slips off to the side
  • difficulty using or moving the leg in a normal manner
  • deformity of the dislocated area
  • warmth, bruising or redness in the injured area
  • creaking or cracking sounds during movement

Because the symptoms of a dislocated knee may resemble other conditions or medical problems, always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

What causes a dislocated knee?

The kneecap connects all the muscles in the thigh to the shinbone (tibia). As you bend or straighten your leg, the kneecap is pulled up or down. The thighbone has a v-shaped notch at one end to accommodate the moving kneecap.

In a normal knee, the kneecap fits nicely in the groove. However, if the groove is uneven or too shallow, the ligaments are loose or there is a sharp blow to the kneecap, the kneecap could slide off, resulting in a partial or complete dislocation.

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