chapter 9:Patellar Subluxation

"I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving."

—Oliver Wendell Holmes

A patella may articulate abnormally such that it is transiently or permanently medial or lateral to its normal tracking course. In general, subluxation (or lateral translation) of the patella will involve transient lateral movement of the patella early in knee flexion such that the patient will experience a feeling of instability or pain; however, some patients may have permanent lateral tracking of the patella. It is most important to differentiate between this form of abnormal patellar alignment and tilt, because there can be subluxation with or without tilt, and tilt with or without subluxation. In order to be clear to those with different definitions of subluxation, in this book the terms subluxation and translation will be used interchangeably, whereas tilt will refer specifically to rotation of the patella out of the coronal plane.

Subluxation may be considered minor, major, or permanent, and may be either congenital or secondary to injury or trauma. Awareness of the nature of a patient's subluxation will be helpful in formulating a treatment plan and prognosis.



Inside Chapter 9: