Case Summary  |  Pattellar Subluxation fixed with surgery and physical theray

Condition Knee Luxating Patella (Floating Patella)
Case Description

When I was 13, I hurt my knee playing volleyball. There was a loud crunch, sharp pain and lots of initial swelling and bruising. I couldn't walk on it for a week, and the swelling did not recede for two weeks. My parents weren't big on doctors, so my knee was not diagnosed or treated at the time. For four years, if I ran and my foot was not planted straight in front on me, my knee would come out of socket and then immediately pop itself back into place. The swelling again would stay for weeks and I could not bend my leg at the knee until the swelling went down again.
This continued to happen more frequently and easily during the course of the four years before it was treated by a doctor.

I had a lot of x-rays taken and examinations on my knee before I was referred to a surgeon for treatment. The surgeon told me my initially injury had torn my ACL and stretched out the ligaments that held my knee cap and knee in it's proper place making it more susceptible for further patellar subluxation. The more times this happened, the worse the ligaments were stretched and the more likely the injury was to reoccur. I was diagnosed with Pattellar Subluxation.

The ACL muscle had re-healed itself over the years, so during surgery, they tightened the stretched ligaments around my kneecap to hold it in place, a Pattellar Subluxation surgery, which included a lateral release of the ligaments and tightening of the ligaments.

My leg was in a brace for months, where the angle my leg could bend set by the brace, and gradually increased over time. I lost about two and a half inches of muscle mass during the time my leg was in the brace.

I then had 7 months of physical therapy three times a week to rebuild the muscle mass I had lost not only from surgery, but to rebuild the muscles around my kneecap to keep the same injury from occurring again.

Initially, I did a lot of isometric leg lifts over a small roll. The roll increased in size until I graduated to using a machine with weights. I also used an eliptical machine and exercise bike to increase strength. They had me do band exercises at home every day I was not at physical therapy to build mass. I also did one-leg stands on the injured leg to improve balance. At the end of my therapy sessions, my knee was iced down and wrapped and put back in the brace.

I still do not have the same strength or muscle mass in my injured leg as I do in my uninjured leg, but for the most part I am very happy with how my knee has turned out. Occasionally I have some problems where it hurts, or gets sore, but I have a full range of motion and the same level of ability in my knee as I did before the injury. I ski, horseback ride, mountain bike, and have not had any major issues since being treated.

My surgeon did give me a special made knee brace to hold my kneecap in place when doing anything that would be strenuous on my knee. I used the brace for years, but have not used it for any strenuous activity in the past three years, and haven't had any problems.

Dates January 3, 1995 - Ongoing
Diagnosed On October 8, 1999
Diagnosis Method X-Ray + Doctor Examination + Self Examination
Treatment Combo Patellar Subluxation Surgery + Lateral Release Surgery
Treatment Result
Helped a lot
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1 case
Age 33
Weight 170 pounds
About me: 27 year old virginia resident