What Are the Most Common Patella Injuries?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2018
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Patella injuries can prevent someone from walking or running normally, and these injuries can lead to constant pain even when the person is immobilizing the leg. Runner's knee, or chondromalacia patellae, is perhaps the most common of the many patella injuries one can incur, though other conditions such as bone fractures, tendinitis, and bursitis are quite common as well. In most cases, a trip to a doctor will be necessary to obtain a proper diagnosis, and the treatment for the injury will vary depending on what the actual injury is.

Runner's knee occurs when the cartilage beneath the kneecap becomes inflamed or otherwise damaged. This can be one of the more difficult patella injuries to treat because cartilage healing time can be quite slow, since little blood flow reaches the cartilage of the knee. Runners or athletes who experience this injury are often advised to stay off the injured leg for an extended period of time, and the RICE treatment should be used. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Injections of anti-inflammatory medications may be used as well, and other treatment methods may be available for more severe patella injuries involving damaged or inflamed cartilage.


Patellar subluxation occurs when the patella does not track properly within the other bones of the knee. The kneecap is, in other words, misaligned or even dislocated. This can be one of the more painful patella injuries if not treated properly. Physical therapy is usually necessary to treat this injury, and the patient will need to take part in a regular exercise and rehabilitation routine that not only gets the kneecap back on track, but also strengthens the muscles that support proper functioning of the knee. This may involve strengthening the muscles of the thighs, hips, or even the calves.

Prepatellar bursitis is sometimes known as housemaid's knee, and it is common among people who often kneel or put pressure on the kneecap. The knee will swell in front of the kneecap or just underneath it in some cases, and the swelling can lead to stiffness and pain. This is a problematic condition because it will limit a person's mobility significantly in many cases. The best course of action for treating this condition is the RICE treatment, though altering one's regular behaviors to prevent direct pressure on the kneecap is perhaps the best treatment.



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