T Nation

Knee Cap Pops Out


My son's Knee cap has popped out of place twice in two years.The specialists say he will eventually have to go under the knife(genetics),but not until he stops growing.He is 13 now.

I was hoping to get some responses from people with similar injurys when they were young athletes and how they overcame them. He will get physio initially but we did that the first time.He plays football and hockey and will get fitted for a new brace so he can still play sports,however it can still pop out without warning.His physio involves mainly plyometrics not strenght training.How do i do both sensibly without making obvious mistakes.Building strength around his knee joints more specifically his patella tendon seems to be the main focus, or could it be symptom something else.Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Also this is my first post so i hope i didn't go on to long.


I was told that I had a sublixating knee cap which means that it would pop out and then pop right back in place. After an MRI we found out that it was due to a buckethandle tear in my meniscus. I just played out the rest of the season and then had the surgery, but I also did a lot of damage to my meniscus by playing the rest of the season.


"I was hoping to get some responses from people with similar injurys when they were young athletes and how they overcame them."

I've had the same injury twice, 20 years apart, but if you're son is a recurrent dislocater, that is a different story. In his case it may very well be that something about his knee is built a bit off e.g. the groove that the patella rides in (as it glides up and down) may be too shallow, the patella my ride too high, he may be knock kneed, etc. How he will do long term depends exactly on what is causing it, and how sucessful the surgery is.

They are a bit technical, and you may have to register, but here are two medical sites with more info:




I have that same problem. My knee cap dislocated while playing basketball in highschool, again while doing lunges, and finely while playing football in college. After the third dislocation the head sports med doctor at the University of Utah then strongly recommended surgery. Which i then went through(i understand that u dont have that option though), and had my patella realigned. But after my injuries and surgery, they recommended strengthening my vastus medialis(the tear drop muscle on the quadricep) and my hamstrings. This is the muscle that helps keep your patella in place. I was also cautioned against doing open chained exercises such as leg extensions, and to focus on closed chain exercises such as squats and leg presses. These excercise contribute greatly to stability, strength, and health of the knee. Also cycling and unilateral work (one legged squats and leg presses) also helped alot as well. Your son pretty much needs to get his vastus medialis stronger and the muscle fibers firing. Three years after surgery my knee still hurts a little at times, but mostly when i am NOT squatting or playing sports, but that is to be expected. My knee is now incredibley strong and stable, and my athletic ability and lifts are now better than what they were before. I hope that this helps some. Good luck to your son!!!