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Athletic Training

By twisted I mean the knee cap is messed up

04/20/2006

Question:

by twisted i mean the left knee cap is twisted all the way to the left. and yes occaionally it does give out could there also be a possible pinched nerve from the fracture that i had 5 years ago in my left hip that causes this problem.

Answer:

The "knee" actually is two different but related joints.  One, the tibiofemoral joint is between the upper leg bone (femur) and large shin bone (tibia). The second is between the kneecap (patella) and the upper leg bone (femur) and is called the patellofemoral joint.

Patellofemoral joint problems are common in many sports, especially those that involve a lot of running or jumping.  Everyone's kneecap moves toward the outside (lateral) part of the knee when you tighten your thigh (quadriceps) muscles.  While this is normal, it can cause problems if it moves too far or if the shape of your femur is such that the patella grinds against it too much.  Many patellofemoral problems can be addressed through targeted strengthening programs, but some require more aggressive treatments that sometimes include surgery.  If you do have a neurologic problem related to your previous hip injury, and if that problem affects your quadriceps muscles, then it might also contribute to a patellofemoral problem.  This is a condition that I recommend you discuss with your physician.

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Response by:

Mark  A Merrick, PhD, ATC Mark A Merrick, PhD, ATC
Associate Professor
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
The Ohio State University