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Physica e-Newsletter
November 2012

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Patella Dislocations

The patella (knee-cap) sits on the front surface of the end of the femur (thigh bone) and forms the patellofemoral joint. Dislocation of the patella most commonly occurs with trauma such as twisting or jumping injuries or contact from opposition players in sport. Atraumatic injuries can occur in those with ligament laxity and a past history of previous dislocation.
Dislocation results in the patella sitting laterally (outside) on the knee. Reduction occurs with straightening the knee out, some cases may require sedative medication to assist the process. Swelling of the knee occurs immediately which should be controlled with the RICE approach (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
The lateral femoral condyle is the main passive restraint to a dislocation episode and damage to the underlying cartilage can often occur. The medial patellofemoral ligament is the other passive restraint which is often torn with dislocation of the patella. Underlying cartilage damage may require surgery to remove bone fragments or repair the cartilage defect. In recurrent episodes, patella stabilisation surgery may be required.
Plain x-rays are routinely taken to exclude fractures and any bone fragments. Severe cases may require an MRI to ascertain the extent of suspected underlying cartilage (chondral) damage or associated ligament damage.
Conservative management is the treatment of choice for first time dislocators. Acute management consists of bracing and the use of crutches to control swelling. Muscle re-training then occurs with specific exercises to strengthen the quadriceps and VMO (inside quadriceps muscle), calf muscles and hip muscles. Re-training the 'core muscles' is also important. Your Physica Practitioner may use other modalities such as taping or manual therapy in this phase of the rehabilitation program.
Treatment is then directed at returning you to your chosen sport with higher level balance tasks, sports specific drills and functional retraining which may consist of  stepping, squatting and running. This process may take up to three months before returning to competitive sport.
All Physica Physiotherapists have expertise in the management and rehabilitation of patella dislocations. We will assess your injury and guide you through a comprehensive individualised program to get you back to sport.   

Physica Represented at Global Medical Conference


Darren and Andrew have just returned from Medica, Germany where they had a chance to present an exciting project they have been working on. For the last 3 years Darren and Andrew have developed an orthopaedic pillow in response to clients constant dissatisfaction with their current pillow. The P3 has been developed essentially to better support the cervical spine in side lying and back sleeping (supine) positions. The two have done extensive research and many hours in product development and clinical testing. The results have been extremely encouraging and the P3 pillow is now ready to market. They expect first shipment of the pillows in mid January and will be available through all practitioners at Physica. The product is very unique in that it is adjustable in 3 areas, so it can be personally fitted for a patient's requirements.


The Global market was very receptive and excited about the product. Medical specialists, physiotherapist, chiropractors and sleep specialist were all very encouraged by the research and the comfort of the pillow. Physica and the Physica community have been very supportive of the project and the 2 boys would like to extend their thanks to all involved, whether it be clinical testing, radiology testing or even just patients discussing their needs and wants of a pillow. So many have contributed to this product and we are sure you are all going to hear more about the P3 Pillow.


Ask your physiotherapist at Physica if a P3 may be appropriate for you.

The team at Physica wish you and your family good health. If there is anything we can do to help you with your aches and pains, fitness or general health please do not hesitate to contact us.

Physica Spinal and Physiotherapy Clinics
25 Wantirna Rd
Ringwood Vic 3134
ph 9870 8193

also at
Physica Devonport
Physica Shearwater
Physica Latrobe