Patellar tilt is when the patella is tilted to one side, generally the lateral (outer) side, secondary to tightness in the lateral retinaculum, the fibrous restraint at the lateral side of the patella.

Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

lateral patellar tilt
Tight retinaculum on the lateral side. The medial retinaculum is not shown in this illustration.


Patellar tilt and instability

Patellar tilt may be static or associated with instability such as patellar subluxation or even dislocation.

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Cartilage damage from patellar tilt

Chronic patellar tilt may eventually cause excessive lateral pressure syndrome (ELPS) which may lead to damage of articular cartilage, with changes in both the medial cartilage from pressure alteration and overload on the lateral cartilage which may lead to arthritic damage there and chronic pain.

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Peer-reviewed papers

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tilted patellar
inferior tilt
medial tilt
lateral tilt

Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...