About Patellar Instability

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
Scroll down to learn more

What is Patellar Instability?

The patella (kneecap) attaches to the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) by tendons. When the knee bends, the patella slides evenly up and down within a v-shaped groove (trochlea) at the end of the femur (thigh bone). In some people, the patella is pulled out of the groove towards the outside of the knee causing patella instability, sometimes referred to as patella subluxation.

Common Causes:

  • Direct Injury
  • Abnormalities in the gait
  • Repeat patellar dislocations or subluxations
  • Soft tissue malfunction

Symptoms of Patellar Instability may include:

  • Pain when sitting
  • Pain in the front of the knee which increases with activity
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Creaking or cracking sounds on movement
  • Patella slips off to the side
  • Knee buckles and cannot support a¬†persons weight
  • Knee feels like it catches on movement

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms immediately seek treatment by making an appointment with Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) knee specialist.

When you arrive for your initial consultation, Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) knee specialist will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

When diagnosing a Patellar Instability, the OPA specialist will provide:

  • A medical, injury, and symptom history review
  • A physical examination
  • Multiple view x-rays

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options are used to treat Patellar Instability. The following may be included in a customized OPA treatment plan:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

Decrease inflammation and pain.

Physical Therapy

OPA approved physical therapist will provide exercises strengthen the collateral ligament and surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons.


A brace and crutches take the weight off the knee.

Activity Modification

Slowing down or stopping activities that caused the injury or cause symptom flare-ups.

Surgical intervention may be recommended for some patellar instability depending on the severity. The OPA knee specialist may recommend knee arthroscopy. Physical therapy will be an important part of recovery after surgery.

At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship Trained Knee Specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating patellar instability.

If you are experiencing pain in your knee, contact our office to schedule an appointment with our knee specialists that are conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Knee Team

(click a provider to view profile)

Deryk Anderson, DO

Orthopedic Specialist

Tucker Drury, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Adam Ellison, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Robert Hall, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Christopher Manion, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Jeff Moore, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Eli Powell, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Michael Reyes, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Greg Schweiger, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.


Call Now ButtonCall Us Today