Medical Library: Knee – Recurrent Dislocation

Recurrent dislocation can refer to the repeated instances of either knee dislocation or kneecap dislocation, which are two very different conditions. Knee dislocation occurs when the thigh bone and the shine bone lose contact, usually as a result of a car accident, severe fall, or a sports injury. This injury results in significant damage to the ligaments around the knee. A more common injury is kneecap dislocation, which causes significant pain and deformity of the knee joint.

Kneecap dislocation occurs when the kneecap or patella comes completely out of its groove and comes to rest on the outside of the knee joint.

The first time a kneecap is dislocated, ligaments that were holding the kneecap in position are torn. The medial patellofemoral ligament, or MPFL, secures the patella to the inside of the knee. Once the MPFL is torn, it often does not heal properly, and the kneecap can dislocate more easily in the future. That is why recurrent dislocation of the kneecap occurs in a high percentage of patients who have this injury.

By strengthening the muscles around the joint, and with the use of specialized knee braces, the hope is to help prevent recurrent injury.