Subluxation is when the bones of a joint nearly leave their normal alignment, but then return to a normal position.
The word, however, is used different ways by different groups. To a patient it is an uncomfortable sensation, caused by the kneecap thus shifting sideways. To a radiologist it is a finding he may see on the x-ray. To a surgeon it may be a sign - when he feels that he is able to shift the kneecap away from its normal position.
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