Researchers Say Young Patients Who Experience Patellar Dislocations May be At Risk for Similar Injuries Later in Life

Newswise — TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – Young patients who suffer patellar dislocations are at a higher risk of recurring dislocations, especially long-term after their initial injury, according to research presented today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Researchers received the Herodicus Award, presented to the best resident paper featured at the meeting, and determined by the Herodicus Society.

“Our research showed that within the study group, 104 patients had ipsilateral recurrent patellar dislocation, with over 20% of cases occurring in the first two years following the initial injury,” noted Thomas L. Sanders, MD, corresponding author from the Mayo Clinic. “By 15 and 20 years, this number had reached 54% of patients – a concerning rate of recurrence.”

The study included 232 skeletally immature patients, defined as such if their proximal tibia and distal femoral physes were open at the time of dislocation. Those selected experienced a first-time lateral patellar dislocation between 1990 and 2010. Subjects were followed for a mean of 12.1 years to determine rates of subsequent dislocations, or clinically significant patellofemoral arthritis.

“Despite high numbers of recurrence, our research showed that these young patients did not develop significant patellofemoral arthritis,” commented Sanders. “We hope to use our research to help educate both physicians and parents on the risks young athletes face after these injuries in their early years, and hopefully take steps to prevent them.”

The study adds to previous studies, which typically show 40% of adolescent patients go on to experience a recurring patellar dislocation.


The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) is the premier global, sports medicine organization representing the interests of orthopaedic surgeons and other professionals who provide comprehensive health services for the care of athletes and active people of all ages and levels. We cultivate evidence-based knowledge, provide extensive educational programming, and promote emerging research that advances the science and practice of sports medicine. AOSSM is also a founding partner of the STOP Sports Injuries campaign to prevent overuse and traumatic injuries in kids.