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Current Concepts Review   |    
Patellar Instability
Alexis Chiang Colvin, MD1; Robin V. West, MD2
1 Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 5 East 98th Street, Box 1188, New York, NY 10029. E-mail address: alexis.colvin@gmail.com
2 Center for Sports Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 3200 South Water Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. E-mail address: westrv@upmc.edu
View Disclosures and Other Information
Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2008 Dec 01;90(12):2751-2762. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.H.00211
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Abstract

Recurrent patellar instability can result from osseous abnormalities, such as patella alta, a distance of >20 mm between the tibial tubercle and the trochlear groove, and trochlear dysplasia, or it can result from soft-tissue abnormalities, such as a torn medial patellofemoral ligament or a weakened vastus medialis obliquus.

Nonoperative treatment includes physical therapy, focusing on strengthening of the gluteal muscles and the vastus medialis obliquus, and patellar taping or bracing. Acute medial-sided repair may be indicated when there is an osteochondral fracture fragment or a retinacular injury.

The recent literature does not support the use of an isolated lateral release for the treatment of patellar instability.

A patient with recurrent instability, with or without trochlear dysplasia, who has a normal tibial tubercle-trochlear groove distance and a normal patellar height may be a candidate for a reconstruction of the medial patellofemoral ligament with autograft or allograft.

Distal realignment procedures are used in patients who have an increased tibial tubercle-trochlear groove distance or patella alta. The degree of anteriorization, distalization, and/or medialization depends on associated arthrosis of the lateral patellar facet and the presence of patella alta. Associated medial or proximal patellar chondrosis is a contraindication to distal realignment because of the potential to overload tissues that have already undergone degeneration.

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    References

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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