Skip to Main Content


Patellofemoral Instability Program

About the Program

Patella instability causes a variety of problems ranging from mild shifting or clicking of the patella (knee cap) to chronic disability, trouble with stairs, inability to run, giving way of the knee, complete collapse of the knee, chronic pain, and accelerated arthritis of the knee.

Fortunately, many patients with patella instability respond to non-surgical treatment such as bracing, taping, modification of activities and physical therapy.

The Sports Medicine Division provides specialized care for people with patella instability. While non-surgical options are almost always the first step recommendation, our Patella Instability Program offers the best possible current technology and expertise to enable patients to have a successful return to normal activities.

The Patella Instability Program offers the highest quality advanced imagining including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) for patient evaluation in collaboration with Yale University’s Department of Radiology. Yale Orthopaedics, in collaboration with the Department of Radiology and the School of Engineering, offer a major initiative in three- dimensional (3D) imaging and printing, such that a patient’s knee can, in certain complex situations, be printed into a 3-D model for detailed analysis and optimal surgical planning.

Three-dimensional analysis is particularly important for patients with trochlea dysplasia, a condition in which the groove for the patella is too shallow and deformed, adding to patella instability and recurrent dislocation of the patella in some patients.

Yale Orthopaedics is actively researching the complexities of patellofemoral dysplasia in order to offer every patient the best possible outcome. Yale Orthopedics is also engaged in national and international education of orthopedic surgeons and other care providers about the optimal treatment of patella instability patients. The program also offers opportunities for residents with a focus in Sports Medicine to gain an in-depth understanding of patellofemoral issues and the complexities that could arise in surgical settings.

When surgery becomes necessary for patients with patella instability, Yale Orthopaedics offers extensive expertise and long experience. The goal is to minimize surgery whenever possible, but also to recognize when more definitive surgical treatment is necessary. Yale Orthopaedics offers over 50 years of cumulative experience with tibial tubercle transfer (TTO or AMZ) and medial stabilization (MPFL or MQTFL) surgery and can manage most patients with these procedures on an outpatient basis at the McGivney Surgery Center, a modern, top of the line facility with easy parking at the Saint Raphael’s campus.

Yale Orthopaedics works closely with the Patellofemoral Foundation. More information on patella instability and patellofemoral problems, in general, may be found on the Patellofemoral Foundation website