University of Oulu

Sinikumpu J, Nicolaou N. Current concepts in the treatment of first-time patella dislocation in children and adolescents. Journal of Children’s Orthopaedics. 2023;17(1):28-33. doi:10.1177/18632521221149060

Current concepts in the treatment of first-time patella dislocation in children and adolescents

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Author: Sinikumpu, Jaakko1; Nicolaou, Nicolas2
Organizations: 1Department of Pediatric Surgery and Orthopaedics, Research Unit of Clinical Medicine, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Sheffield, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-16


Background: Lateral dislocation of the patella is a common injury in children. It can occur in previously healthy and anatomically normal knees, but there are several abnormalities that predispose to patellar instability. Magnetic resonance imaging is an essential part of assessing for associated injuries and risk of further instability. Treatment aims to prevent redislocation, residual instability, osteoarthritis, and allow return to previous activities. The purpose of this review was to assess evidence for management of first-time patella dislocation in children and adolescents.

Methods: Literature review was performed, accompanied by the current best practice by the authors.

Results: Non-operative treatment is preferred, except where there are associated injuries such as osteochondral fractures that would benefit from surgery. The exact method of ideal non-operative management is not clearly defined but should focus on restoration of range of movement and strength with bracing as indicated. There seems to be a trend toward operative intervention that may well be inappropriate.

Conclusion: Further prospective studies are required with focus on the younger patient to fully understand if there is an at-risk group that would benefit from early surgery.

Level of evidence:: level III.

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Series: Journal of children's orthopaedics
ISSN: 1863-2521
ISSN-E: 1863-2548
ISSN-L: 1863-2521
Volume: 17
Issue: 1
Pages: 28 - 33
DOI: 10.1177/18632521221149060
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2023. is article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (