PATELLAR TRACKING DISORDER

knee tendonsPatellar tracking disorder occurs when the kneecap (patella) shifts out of place as the leg bends or straightens. In most cases, the kneecap shifts too far toward the outside of the leg, although in a few people it shifts toward the inside.  Your knee joint acts as a complex hinge that joins the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) with the thighbone (femur).  Tendons and ligaments hold the kneecap in place at the front of the knee joint.  The tendons support vertical placement of the kneecap, and the ligaments support the sides of the kneecap.  A layer of cartilage lines the underside of the kneecap, helping it glide along the groove at the end of your thighbone.  The kneecap can shift or rotate off track if the groove does not stabilize the plane of motion such as with a shallow groove or with damaged cartilage. Loose or too tight ligaments, tendons, and muscles, may also lead to a misaligned kneecap from improper support and tension.

Causes of Patellar Tracking disorder

trochlear groove A patellar tracking disorder usually consists of several problems combined. The shape of the patella; too tight or too loose muscles and tendons in the leg, foot, or hip areas; damage to cartilage; and overuse may lead to patellar tracking disorder.  Also, a severe blow to the inside of a healthy knee can knock a kneecap out of alignment or, in extreme cases, dislocate it. Symptoms of a dislocated kneecap include the knee looking misshapen, inability to bend or straighten the knee, knee swelling, and severe pain.  Sometimes patellar tracking problems run in the family. If you have a family member with knee pain, or patellar tendonitis you may want to take preventive measures, such as strengthening your thigh muscles.

Symptoms of Patellar Tracking Disorder

Patients with patellar tracking disorder exhibit discomfort and pain, especially from going down stairs, sitting for long periods of time, and standing up from a seated or squatting position. This kind of pain, also known as patellofemoral pain, presents in many patients with patellar tracking disorder.  Additional symptoms include feeling a popping, grinding, slipping, or catching sensation of the kneecap when you bend or straighten your leg. Some patients may feel unstable with the knee buckling or giving way, as though the knee suddenly cannot support your body weight.

Suspect Patellar tracking Disorder? Call North Texas’ All-Star Orthopedic Team! 817-375-5200

 

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