Patellar Tracking Disorder - What Happens
Patellar tracking disorder is a condition that disrupts the normal function of the knee.
Normal kneecap function
As your knee straightens
and bends, the kneecap (patella) glides up and down the femoral groove at the
front end of the thighbone (femur). At the same time, the patella tilts and
rotates slightly, held in check by
ligaments on the sides and
tendons on the top and bottom.
picture of the
knee joint .
If the femoral groove is
shallow, the patellar tendon is too long, or the stabilizing ligaments,
tendons, or muscles are too tight or loose, the kneecap can shift, tilt, or
rotate off track (sublux). As you bend your knee to a 90-degree angle, a
misaligned kneecap will have increasing abnormal contact with the thighbone,
creating painful pressure.
In extreme cases, the kneecap can
dislocate. After a kneecap has been dislocated once,
it may dislocate more easily in the future. Any resulting damage to the kneecap
or supportive tissue can lead to ongoing patellar tracking problems.
Untreated patellar tracking disorder can lead to:
- Cartilage damage (chondrosis).
- Osteoarthritis of the knee.
A blow to the middle or inside of a structurally sound
kneecap can also dislocate the kneecap.