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Medial Patellofemoral Ligament Injury

What is a medial patellofemoral ligament injury?

The kneecap, or patella, sits in a groove in the thighbone (femur). A ligament called the medial patellofemoral ligament, or MPFL, holds it in place. The MPFL is located on the inside of the knee and connects the kneecap to the femur or inner thighbone, helping to keep the kneecap centered in the bone groove. If the MPFL gets torn or stretched, it takes much less force to dislocate the kneecap.

Learn more about knee anatomy

What causes an MPFL injury?

A number of conditions can put stress on the MPFL and stretch or tear it. They include:

What are the symptoms of an MPFL injury?

Symptoms of an MPFL injury include:

Learn more about unstable kneecap

How is a medial patellofemoral ligament injury diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose an MPFL injury based on:

Your doctor may also order diagnostic imaging, including an X-ray or MRI, to confirm the diagnosis.

How is an MPFL injury treated nonsurgically?

Nonsurgical treatment options for an MPFL injury include:

What are the surgical treatment options for an MPFL injury?

The goal of surgery is to:

Before surgery, patients are prescribed physical therapy to work on regaining full motion and to decrease knee swelling. All patients wear a brace to protect the knee before surgery.

MPFL reconstruction surgery

This is the most common surgery used to address an MPFL injury.

After surgery, patients are advised to work closely with a physical therapist. Physical therapy is critical to regaining full knee motion and strength.

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