What is Patella Dislocation?

The patella or kneecap lies in front of the knee joint. It glides up and down a groove called the patellofemoral groove at the front of the thigh bone or femur as the knee bends. The patella is attached to the quadriceps muscle via the quadriceps tendon and acts to increase the leverage of this muscle group when straightening the knee.

More About Patella Dislocation

The patella normally lies within the patellofemoral groove and is only designed to slide vertically within it. Dislocation of the patella occurs when the patella moves or is moved to the outside of this groove and onto the bony head of the femur (lateral femoral condyle).

The patella may also sublux rather than fully dislocate, meaning it moves partially out of position. A patella dislocation is not the same as a dislocation of the knee joint itself which is a much more severe traumatic injury.