Subluxation of the knee

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A dislocation is a movement of a joint surface compared to another, thus creating a disruption of articular continuity. It can be described more simply as an articulation that "pops out". In the case of a subluxation, loss of contact is not complete. Regarding the knee, both phenomena are possible and mainly concern the patella, aka the knee cap. This dislocation of the patella is favored by patellar instability often due to an anatomical anomaly, namely when it is too high. Patellar instability in most cases manifests itself in adolescence.


Signs of subluxation of the knee are:
  • pain in the knee;
  • a non-centered, abnormal localization of the knee cap;
  • the feeling of having an abnormally mobile patella;
  • swelling of the knee;
  • difficulty walking.

Frequently, these symptoms recur with repeated dislocation or subluxation.


The diagnosis of subluxation of the knee is clinical, and an examination of the knee will show the aforementioned signs. An X-ray is often performed. In some cases, a scan is required.


In the case of subluxation of the knee, the patella must be put back into, which can sometimes occur spontaneously or manually. In the case of recurring episodes of subluxation or dislocation, a surgical treatment is often necessary to correct anatomical abnormalities.