Patellofemoral (Knee Cap) Disorders

Often, athletes, individuals who leisurely play sports, or even people who are not very active come to struggle with patellofemoral disorders.

These disorders concern the knee cap, medically known as the patella.

One of the most common patellofemoral disorders is patellofemoral pain syndrome ("runner’s knee"). It is most frequently encountered in people who play sports that require jumping and running.

If the patient’s patellofemoral disorder is causing them trouble walking or severe pain, they may be recommended surgery, which can be performed arthroscopically.

How Is Surgery to Treat Patellofemoral Disorders Performed?

There are other patellofemoral disorders in addition to patellofemoral pain syndrome, some of these being:

Naturally, each patellofemoral disorder requires a unique surgical approach, both because these disorders are different and because no two patients have the same anatomy. Arthroscopy is very useful when it comes to the surgical treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome, one of the most common disorders of this kind.

With the arthroscope inside the knee, the surgeon will be able to see how the kneecap tracks in its groove and pinpoint any instability or tendency to dislocate. They will also determine whether some of the tendons and structures attached to the kneecap are too tight, too loose, or torn. Once the problem is found, an adequate procedure can be carried out. It may include tightening, releasing, or a combination of both that will eventually allow the kneecap to track properly.

After the patient is given anesthesia, a lateral release to treat it is performed when the fibrous bands attached to the outside part of the kneecap are too tight and pull the kneecap out of position. The orthopedic surgeon will cut this structure, which will allow the kneecap to move back into its track. If the patella is tracking too far laterally, the medial tissues may be tightened to help with patella tracking.

Recovery After Patellofemoral Disorder Surgery

It can take 3 months for the knee to fully heal after the surgery. Still, most patients will be able to drive again within approximately one month. They may return to work within 6 to 8 weeks following the procedure.

Furthermore, the patient will have limited ability to bend their knee for up to 12 weeks. Depending on their leg strength, they may not be allowed to run for 12 to 14 weeks. Athletes can return to sports after roughly 6 months.

Frequently Asked Questions