Patellar Instability

Also known as: unstable kneecap

What is patellar instability?

Patellar instability is the scientific term for a kneecap that has become unstable. (The patella is the kneecap.) When the patella slips out of alignment, it causes pain and injury to the knee.

What causes patellar instability?
Patellar instability is often the result of a person growing a shallow or uneven femoral groove that holds the patella in place. An injury or direct blow to the kneecap can also cause patellar instability.

What are the symptoms of patellar instability?
Symptoms can include knee pain, swelling, trouble moving the knee, a knee that buckles in use, a catching sensation when moving the knee or a cracking sound coming from the knee.

What are patellar instability care options?
In many cases, a doctor can reset the patella manually with a technique called reduction. Bracing, exercises, physical therapy and surgery are other possible treatments for patellar instability.

Reviewed by: Craig Spurdle, MD

This page was last updated on: 8/7/2018 10:08:10 AM


Upcoming Events

2nd Annual Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Sports Health Symposium

Longevity in Sports Performance, Considerations from Elementary to Post Professional

This course will give the athletic trainer and physical therapist an overview of athletic development models and orthopedic/rehabilitative management of several conditions that influence athletic performance.

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Weekly Support Programs

ACL Injury Prevention Training Group Class

A training program designed to correct biomechanical risk factors of an ACL injury, focused on improving strength, power, and agility and led by Sports Health Performance Specialists. Program consists of 4-10 participants and offered once or twice a week, over 6 weeks.  Learn more.

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Shoulder & Elbow Maintenance Program

This training program is designed to help maintain shoulder and elbow strength, endurance, and flexibility to withstand the rigors of a lengthy season and optimize sports performance, led by Sports Health Performance Specialists. Program consists of 4-10 participants and is offered once or twice a week, over 6 weeks.  Learn more.

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Dance Injury Prevention Group Class

A training program designed to improve strength, range of motion, balance and neuromuscular control to enhance performance and reduce the risk of dance related injuries. Program consists of 4-10 participants and offered once or twice a week, over 6 weeks. Learn more.

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Off-Season Sports Conditioning Group Class

This program is designed to prepare athletes for their individual sports season to ensure optimize sports performance and prevent injury. Athletes will focus a periodization of 3 weeks strength and endurance phase, followed by a 3 week power phase led by Sports Health Performance Specialists. Program consists of 4-10 participants and is offered once or twice a week, over 6 weeks.  Learn more.

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Running Injury Prevention Group Class

A training program designed to correct biomechanical risk factors of a runner and improve strength, power, and running mechanics, led by Sports Health Performance Specialists. Program consists of 4-10 participants and offered once or twice a week, over 6 weeks. Learn more.

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From the Newsdesk

Sports Health Center at Pinecrest
The Sports Health Center at Pinecrest is designed to help the young athletes in our community when it comes to prevention and rehabilitation of sports injuries.
Helping Female Athletes Prevent Sports-Related Knee Injuries
Today we are seeing an increasing number of girls playing competitive sports, with roughly 200,000 at the collegiate level. This rise in 200,000 at the collegiate level. This risen in participation has afforded female athletes many social and health benefits including improved physical fitness, confidence, teamwork and a decreased risk of obesity.