Lateral tracking patella or otherwise known as patellar tracking disorder involves the shifting of the knee cap toward the outer side of the knee joint when the knees are flexed or extended. In some people, the knee cap may shift towards the inner side instead of the other side, and your Tampa chiropractor may be able to help with your knee pain and discomfort.
When you develop a lateral tracking patella, you may have reduced range of motion of the legs because the knee joint may not be able to adequately support your body weight during movements. It may also lead to knee pain as the knee cap glides along the soft tissues underneath it. Pain is usually felt when climbing or going down the stairs, squatting, sitting or standing from prolonged sitting. Moreover, it may lead to grinding and slipping sensations in the knee area with occasional popping when the knees are bent or straightened. All these symptoms make lateral tracking patella a concern because it may affect the activities of daily living of those affected.
Dealing with lateral tracking patella starts from symptomatic relief and extends to correcting the main problem to effectively rehabilitate the knees. Main causes include tight or loose tendons and muscles around the lower limbs, damaged cartilage, obesity and severe blow to the knees.
Once you feel knee pain, the first thing that you need to do is to consult a medical practitioner to diagnose the problem and provide appropriate treatments. Diagnosis may involve history taking, physical assessment and imaging studies in the form of X-ray, MRI or CT-scan.
Once lateral tracking patella is diagnosed, a set of managements are done to deal with the symptoms. At home, you can employ the following measures:
- Take a break from usual activities
Squatting, running, kneeling, jumping, stair climbing and uphill running should be avoided as much as possible to prevent further injury to the knee joint. Employ low impact activities such as swimming to allow the knee joint to adapt to activities without undue tension on the knee cap. You can also employ stretching and strengthening exercises once your pain subsides.
- Use ice packs over the affected knee
Ice packs are placed to relieve swelling and pain during the immediate phase of injury. Ice causes vasoconstriction to prevent swelling and numbs the pain receptors in the area to limit pain temporarily.
- Take over-the-counter analgesics
You may also take OTC analgesics such as naproxen or celecoxib to relieve inflammation and pain faster. Make sure to stay away from aspirin as it may cause hemarthrosis or bleeding in the joints.
Aside from these home remedies, you may be prescribed with physical therapy to help you cope and recover from lateral tracking patella effectively. Physical therapy may involve weight trainings as well as various exercises to help the knees return to their optimum functioning. Surgery is not usually indicated for lateral tracking patella unless dislocation is found.
Prevention of Lateral Tracking Patella
Once you have recovered from the condition, it is best to employ measures to prevent the reoccurrence of the injury through the following measures:
- Employ adequate warm up exercises before any workout or exercise
- Maintain an ideal body weight
- Use knee support such as taping when doing intense workouts
- Use supportive shoes during running or exercising
- Use the right equipment for your particular workout needs
- Rest adequately after any intense workout to avoid overuse injuries
Lateral tracking patella is not a very serious disability; however, failure to deal with it early may lead to more injury such as knee dislocation.