Question - 3rd Patellar Dislocation

(Las Vegas)

I completely dislocated my knee for the 3rd time 3 weeks ago. The last time it happened was about 7 years prior. Because I had done this before and also once on my other knee, I knew to have somebody help straighten the leg and the patella would go back in. Since then, I am not able to bend at all or lift. I can walk, but not normally. I have to keep my leg straight because it is very painful in the medial area to bend. It almost feels like it's pulling excessively and like it is going to re-dislocate.

I had X-ays and an MRI done, but the orthopedic said that nothing was torn, but I did have a slight bone contusion. I've never had that before and like i said, I have done this four other times prior between both legs. I don't remember ever having this kind of recovery time or not being able to bend or lift, so I was sure something was torn. Especially because of the pain I was having on the medial side of my knee and right underneath.

So for the doc to say that, was almost a shock. Friends and family think there's still something wrong as well and that workman's comp just doesn't want to pay. Now they are sending me to therapy starting next week but how is that going to help if im not able to lift or bend after 3 weeks? Do you have any ideas? and can all the pain when bending come from the bone contusion? Something just doesn't seem right...

P.S I have copies of my MRI if you know how to interpret them. Just let me know.


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Nov 20, 2008
MRI shows no tear
by: Bart - SII

The MRI likely didn't show any acute tears because of your previous history of patellar dislocations. On the first injury, 7 years ago, you likely did have a significant tear of the patellar ligaments and retinaculum...but now, that tissue is already lax and your patella unstable, so the dislocation didn't result in a new tear to the ligament that would show up on the MRI - I have had one other patient with almost exactly the same situation - dislocated and had immense pain and swelling but the MRI showed no acute damage to the ligaments.

The pain you are having is likely due to the swelling, the bone contusion, and irritation of the soft tissue surrounding the patella - although there may not be an acute tearing of the tissue, it is still lax and the patella unstable.

Therapy should help you to regain your range of motion and start to build up your strength, but it isn't going to do anything for the already lax patellar ligaments and retinaculum. You may need surgery to stabilize the patella, or exercises strengthening your hips and core might be able to get you strong and stable enough - that will likely depend on what kind of activities you need to be able to do.

I would be more than happy to interpret your MRI if you want to post the reading or email it to me - just use the contact form


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