What is patellar instability?
The knee joint is formed by the connection of the lower femur (thigh bone), upper tibia (shin bone), and patella (kneecap). The patella is a sesamoid bone that is anchored within the anterior knee by the quadriceps tendon extending from the femur and the patellar tendon from the tibia. A traumatic event, such as a direct and forceful blow to the kneecap or abnormal twisting of the knee, can cause the patella to be dislodged from its normal position. This injury, known as a patella dislocation, can also occur from underlying knee abnormalities such as an elevated kneecap or muscle weaknesses. The tendons anchoring the patella in place can be stretched or torn from patellar displacement. Any damage sustained by these tendons can lead to ligament laxity further increasing the likelihood of future recurrent patellar dislocations.
What is patellar malalignment?
The patella moves along the trochlear groove, a bony channel on the distal femur, as the knee bends and straightens. This bony channel can occasionally be more shallow in some individuals and result in displacement of the patella from a minimal force. The patellar tendon is attached to the tibial tubercle, a bony prominence on the shin bone. Patellar malalignment also occurs when this tibial tubercle is not positioned correctly with a shallow trochlear groove.
What is the treatment for patellar instability or patellar malalignment?
Patients with a patella dislocation or a history of recurrent patella dislocations do not typically benefit from non-operative therapies alone. The best outcome for re-establishing patellar stability and/or correcting patellar malalignment occurs with a tibial tubercle osteotomy. This procedure repositions the tibial tubercle on the shin bone to ensure proper tracking of the kneecap by pulling the patella inward. Dr. Ronak Mukesh Patel, orthopedic knee doctor, treats patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area, who have experienced patellar instability or patellar malalignment and are in need of a tibial tubercle osteotomy.