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Patellar Dislocation


A patellar dislocation occurs when your patella (kneecap) is forced out of place. It can be caused by a fall or a direct blow to your knee. It can also happen if your knee twists or rotates. It is most likely to happen during physical activity, such as sports, military training, or dance.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • NSAIDs decrease swelling and pain. Tell your healthcare provider if you take blood thinner medicine.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • X-ray pictures are used to see if your patella is dislocated and if you have other injuries.
  • MRI or CT pictures may be taken. You may be given contrast liquid to help your knee show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.


  • Immobilization may help decrease pain and hold your knee still to help it heal. Healthcare providers will immobilize your knee with a brace, cast, or splint. This may also help prevent your kneecap from dislocating again.
  • Aspiration is a procedure to remove blood and fluid from your knee through a needle. This reduces swelling and pain.
  • Surgery may be needed if healthcare providers cannot move your kneecap back into place. Surgery may also be done if your kneecap dislocates more than 1 time. Surgery will usually be arthroscopic. This means a small incision is made and a scope is used to help your healthcare provider repair your knee joint.


With or without treatment, your kneecap may not be as stable as it was before dislocation. You may develop arthritis in your knee. Your kneecap may dislocate again.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Patellar Dislocation (Inpatient Care)

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