Patella Dislocation/Instability in Detroit MI
Patella dislocations can affect children and adolescents. These injuries typically occur during sports or with twisting injuries during a fall. When this occurs, the body heals over time. Physical therapy can help speed up recovery by helping reduce swelling, improve range of motion, strengthen and rebalance the muscles about the knee. Often times, patients are able to return to sports and activities gradually after 6 weeks to 3 months of recovery and supervised rehab. During the healing process the core, hip, and thigh muscles are strengthened, improving the balance of the muscles and stability while the injury heals. Dr. Minnock has patients use a patella-stabilizing brace while working on rehab exercises and recovering to help prevent a repeat dislocation. This brace is then used during the transition to return to sports for athletes. About 75% of patients will heal after a single episode of dislocating their patella and not experience recurrent dislocations or require surgery.
In some patients, they still feel like their kneecap will dislocate with running and sports. Around 25% of patient will experience multiple patella dislocations in the future after a first time dislocation event. In these cases, Dr. Minnock will carefully evaluate the alignment of the leg from the hip to foot as well as the stability of the knee. A ligament called the medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) is needed to stabilize and to balance the ligaments around the patella to prevent dislocations during knee motion. Surgery is sometimes needed to reconstruct the ligament and stabilize the knee. Dr. Minnock typically uses donor graft (allograft) for MPFL reconstruction procedure, which heals well in contract to ACL reconstruction. The procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis. Patients are allowed to bear weight in a knee brace immediately afterwards. Most patients can return to sports 3-4 months after surgery with appropriate supervised rehabilitation after surgery.
Sometimes the alignment of the leg has to be treated surgically as well to improve patella stability in addition to the MPFL reconstruction. Dr. Minnock will carefully evaluate the limb alignment and position of the patellar tendon insertion to ensure an excellent outcome.