Patellar Dislocations: Review of Current Literature and Return to Play Potential

  • Chan Gao
  • Aaron Yang
Sports Medicine Rehabilitation (B Liem and BJ Krabak, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sports Medicine Rehabilitation


Acute patellar dislocation is a common cause of traumatic hemarthrosis and is associated with multiple anatomical abnormalities including patella alta, trochlea dysplasia, and malalignment of lower limbs. The medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) stabilizes the patella in the early flexion or terminal extension and ruptures in most of first-time patellar dislocations. Thorough radiological evaluations of the MPFL and predisposing anatomical properties are required for the planning of management of recurrent instability. Conservative treatment is the mainstay management of first-time patellar dislocation and achieves good to excellent outcome in most of the patients. Surgery is indicated for recurrent patellar dislocations and first-time patellar dislocations complicated by osteochondral injuries or major MPFL injuries with high functional demand. Return to sports requires painless full range of motion and symmetrical muscle strength in addition to focusing on sport-specific training. Home exercise and behavior modifications in ADLs are important to decrease the reoccurrence of patellar dislocation/subluxation.


Patellar dislocation Patellar instability Knee pain MPFL 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA

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