Exercises to Prevent Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation, otherwise known as patellar subluxation, is an injury that occurs when the kneecap partially dissociates from the groove holding it in its place at the end of the thighbone. According to the MD Guidelines website, it is usually caused by poorly developed leg structure and is most common among people aged 16 to 20. You can perform exercises to rehab the knee and prevent the injury from happening again. The key exercises involve strengthening the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the inner and outer thighs.

A young woman is squatting in a gym. (Image: gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images)


Squats will work every muscle in the thigh and get results that will help prevent kneecap dislocation from recurring. The movement involves squatting down with your back straight until the knees and thighbones form a 90-degree angle. At that point, drive through your heels and back up into the starting position. This exercise can be done with or without weights. If you do it with heavy weights, use a spotter for safety reasons. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions with a weight that challenges you but does not cause you to lose your form or cause injury. Rest 40 to 50 seconds between each set.

Hamstring Curl

The hamstring curl is done by lying facedown and curling the legs up to the butt, pausing there, and then returning to the starting position. A standard gym has hamstring curl machines, but the curls can also be done on a floor with ankle weights, or manually by having a partner push down on your feet as you try to curl your legs. In this exercise, do three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions with a challenging weight and rest 30 to 40 seconds between each set.

Inner and Outer Thighs

To work the inner thighs, lie on your back and place an exercise ball in between your legs for resistance. Squeeze the legs together against the ball, pause, and then return to the starting position. For the outer thighs, lie on your back and place a resistance band around the outside of your legs. Start with legs together and push out against the resistance, pause, then return to the starting position. You can do these exercises on machines at a gym or manually with a partner. The orthopedic specialists at Morristown Satellite Clinic of Summit Medical Group, in New Jersey, explain that these areas are most important in rehabbing the knee and preventing a dislocation from happening again, so spend a little more time with these exercises. Perform three sets of 20 repetitions for each exercise, while resting 30 seconds between each set.

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