One cause of
patellar tracking disorder is a tight lateral
retinaculum. This is a
ligament that anchors the outer edge of the kneecap (patella).
If tightness in this ligament is pulling your kneecap to the side, a surgeon may recommend lateral release surgery to cut the ligament. It is often done with arthroscopic surgery, which involves inserting a thin tube that contains a camera and light through a small incision near the joint.
A damaged MPFL can be repaired with
arthroscopic surgery. Repair surgery may
be the right choice if the ligament was:
Torn by injury to the knee.
and damaged by kneecap dislocation.
In most people, repairing the MPFL makes the knee
joint more stable. But some people will have another dislocation after the surgery. And many people
still have pain and swelling. This may be due to cartilage damage on the
underside of the kneecap.
Some surgeons think it is best to repair MPFL damage right away the first time the kneecap dislocates. Other surgeons will wait until it becomes a repeated
An osteotomy is a surgery that involves cutting the bone. It may be a good treatment option if patellar tracking disorder is caused by a problem with the alignment or structure of the knee.
A tibial tubercle osteotomy moves the tibial tubercle, which is the bump of bone where the patellar tendon
goes into the shinbone (tibia). This is most often done for one or a
combination of conditions in which:
The kneecap slips sideways out of its
A very long patellar tendon lets the kneecap slide too high on the
knee joint. This is called patella alta.
A tibial tubercle osteotomy is often combined with a
Kaplan L, et al. (2007). Patellar maltracking section of Knee injuries. In PJ McMahon, ed., Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine, pp. 92-95. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPatrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedic Surgery
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