The Basics

  • Very common orthopedic condition which can affect puppies and young dogs.
  • The patella (kneecap) is a small bone typically buried in a large tendon just above the knee.  The patella should sit in a groove on the femur and glide across this groove when the knee is flexed and extended.
  • In cases of patellar luxation this small bone does not stay in this groove when the knee is bent and instead will sit on either side of the groove. Depending on which direction the patella moves, the luxation is described as medial or lateral.
  • Small breeds are most commonly affected and this condition is now thought to be associated with the overall alignment of the entire limb, not just limited to the knee.

Our Patients with Patellar Luxation

  • Small breed dogs with mild to moderate patellar luxation and changes to weight bearing or gait.
  • Larger dogs with patellar luxation associated with other orthopedic conditions.
  • Dogs who have recently undergone surgical correction of patellar luxation.

How does Rehabilitation Help?

  • After surgical correction of patellar luxation we work to encourage weight bearing and return muscle strength and mass to normal.
  • Mild to moderate (non-surgical) cases of patellar luxation may benefit from strengthening of specific muscles and improved flexibility of specific muscles to help redirect the pull on patella.