Patellar Dislocation Specialist in New Jersey

Patellar Dislocation, more commonly referred to as a kneecap dislocation, occurs when the patella bone slides out of place in the knee, usually towards the outer portion of the leg. The normal position for the kneecap is to be over the front of the knee joint, right at the base of the femur, or thigh bone. A kneecap dislocation can be severely painful and requires medical attention immediately.

Patellar Dislocation Causes

As with most knee injuries, a kneecap dislocation is usually caused by a sudden and forceful change of direction while having the leg planted. It’s a very common injury in women’s sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and soccer. The stress placed on the kneecap during this change of direction can cause it to dislocate from its proper location. Kneecap dislocation can also be caused by a direct force trauma to the knee, which is also commonly seen in athletes who participate in some type of contact sport.

Symptoms of Patellar Dislocation

The symptoms of a dislocated kneecap tend to show themselves rather immediately. The first sign of dislocation should be swelling in the knee region accompanied with pain and tenderness. In most instances, the kneecap will be visibly in a different location than usual, most often shifted towards the outer portion of the knee. Following this type of dislocation, the knee will most likely be bent to some extent, and will not be able to be straightened out without severe pain. If kneecap dislocation becomes something that occurs multiple times, the patient may not experience as severe pain and limited mobility during subsequent dislocations. It’s vital to be able to identify this injury, as ignoring it can cause damage to the knee joint.

Treatment of Patellar Dislocation in New Jersey

Immediately following the injury, the knee should be stabilized with the use of a splint, and medical attention sought. NJOI staff perform knee x-rays, and in certain instances, a MRI to determine if the dislocation did any additional damage to surround bones or cartilage in the knee. If these tests come back clear, the knee is placed in an immobilizer or a cast to prevent any movement for several weeks. Following the immobilization, physical therapy is recommended to help build muscular strength around the kneecap to support additional stresses that may be placed on the knee, and to attain full range of motion in the injured knee. If additional damage occurred during the kneecap dislocation, or if the kneecap continues to be unstable following the immobilization treatments, surgery may be performed to stabilize the knee and kneecap. This surgery can be performed arthroscopically or through open surgery.

Does instability and pain in your knee have you slowing down your day-to-day life? The staff at NJOI can help determine whether you’ve been living with a kneecap dislocation for years, or if you’ve recently suffered one. NJOI’s 6 locations throughout North and Central New Jersey make it convenient for our patients to receive treatment without having to travel far from home. We have offices in Clifton, Wayne, Bridgewater, Butler, and Morristown. Call us to schedule an appointment at 973-273-3431. We look forward to seeing you at NJOI.

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Meet The Team

Vincent K. McInerney, M.D.


Founding member, Vincent K. McInerney, M.D., graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 1977 with honors as one of the top medical students in his class.

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Anthony Festa, M.D.


Dr. Anthony Festa is an orthopaedic surgeon in his seventh year of practice at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute.

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Anthony J. Scillia, M.D.


Anthony J. Scillia M.D. is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with subspecialty certification in sports medicine.

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Robert M. Palacios, M.D.


Dr. Robert Palacios is board-certified and fellowship trained, and has been specializing in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine for over two decades.

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Craig Wright, M.D.


Craig Wright, MD joins New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute by way of Totowa, NJ where he was born and raised.

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John Callaghan, M.D.


John Callaghan, M.D. is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic trauma specialist. His expertise encompasses the treatment of acute traumatic injuries.

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  • "Doctors and staff very knowledgeable. Staff very friendly and helpful. Procedure I had went well and staff at surgical center very nice. My procedure went very smoothly. Follow up by staff impressive. Neat office; inviting. Would definitely recommend Dr. Festa to anyone in need of such services."

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Other Locations

Wayne Office

504 Valley Rd. Ste 200 Wayne, NJ 07470

Butler Office

45 Carey Ave. Butler, NJ 07405

Morristown Office

111 Madison Ave. Ste 400 Morristown, NJ 07962

Bridgewater Office

720 Rte. 202-206 Bridgewater, NJ 08807

West-Milford Office

1900 Union Valley Rd Hewitt, NJ 07421