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The Case of the Wandering Kneecap

woman in a squat
Kneecap dislocation occurs when the patella, or kneecap, slides to the outside of the joint, thus stretching and possibly tearing the ligaments that hold it in place.

Kneecap dislocations fall into two categories

  1. Those involving an accident, such as a blow to or a twisting of the knee, are called traumatic dislocations.
  2. Atraumatic dislocations occur when the person is “loose-jointed” or the kneecap is misaligned (tilted or shifted), thus making the joint less stable.

 

Symptoms of a dislocated kneecap include:

  • bleeding under the patella
  • bruising around the patella
  • swelling of the kneecap
  • tenderness along the edge of the patella
  • pain and clicking when the patella pops out of its groove and then moves back into place
  • actual dislocation of the patella when it moves out of the groove and gets stuck out there

When recurrent injuries or serious damage are not involved, however, the patient usually engages in protective rehabilitation for three to five weeks to prevent the kneecap from moving laterally and relieve pain.
The second phase of kneecap rehabilitation, which should take anywhere from two to four months, involves rebuilding and strengthening the quadriceps muscle to prevent dislocation from happening again. We will be glad to design an individual rehabilitation program that will address your particular needs and get this complex joint functioning smoothly and strongly once more.

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
Tom Willemann

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