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Author Topic: whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?  (Read 8717 times)

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Offline Sore knee

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whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?
« on: September 03, 2007, 07:56:30 PM »
I had a LR and my knee cap apparently sat too far to the outside of the leg. Now i saw my theatre notes and it said subluxed laterally. At times now I feel it slip in my knee somewhere..... bad description but not up on all the jargon. I see many people here who say their kneecap dislocates, is this when it pops right out and round the side of your leg completely ?

I had a friend who dislocated her knee and was in an ambulance and had her leg in a cast, yet so many people here say oh I dislocated my knee for the 5th time yesterday etc and they seem so calm. Is it not excruciating ? (I know I find my knee pain bad enough) and do they have to go to hospital ? Thus I just wondered are there degrees of dislocation etc.

Sorry for being so naive but I didn't like to be rude and ask individuals as I am sure its most painful.

11/5/07 LR right knee and cartilage tidied up
6/8/07 Knee aspiration, steroid injection- more physio
22/8/07 Knee to be scoped for answers
16/5/08 Patella stabilisation for  subluxations
24/6/08 Infection -hospitalised for a week. Debridement surgery
21/11/08 Repeat patella stabilisation performed

Offline kahmasayshi3

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Re: whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2007, 08:17:59 PM »
Hey there,

Well, I will tell you my interpretation on the subluxating vs. dislocating patella. I have been diagnosed with subluxation of my left patella, therefore; Ive done lots of research on it thusfar.
Dislocation is a full dislocation of your patella, it will slip completly out of place and will sit on the side of your leg-very very painful, definate emergency situation.
Subluxation is a partial dislocation, your patella will partially slip out of place, possibly when you put weight on your knee or bend it, but it will normally go back in place or reduce on its own.
I have read that once you have a dislocation or subluxation, regardless if it is from trauma or cogenital, you are more susceptible to have another subluxation/dislocation. When I first felt my knee go out of place (sublux), it was painful and scary, however, the following subluxations have been merely a nuiscance, prohibiting me from walking normally, with just a little pain.

Hope this helps!

knee injury at work 06/10/2007
PT Unsuccessful
Diagnosed with Subluxation of left knee
Surgery:Bucket handle meniscus repair of lk 12/20/07

Offline Amanda1975

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Re: whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2007, 09:22:53 PM »
My knee subluxes if it gets knocked.  If, for example, I am sat on the floor with legs outstretched and my dog leaps across my lap knocking the knee cap, then it will sublux.  Its painful but always goes back of its own accord.  I have been careful since my LR but worry that it will happen and not go back now as the ligament will be looser now.

Degenerative Left Knee due to Maltracking Patellar Grade 3-4
Operation 25th June 2007
Lateral Release, Microfracture, shaved intrapatellar pad and Menisci Tidy Up
Right Knee chondromalacia patellar Grade 1
PT and HT awaiting review

Offline tanyap

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Re: whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 09:53:33 AM »
hi amanda,
i posted a question very similiar to this recently. over the years OS's and physios have used the terms interchangeably when referring to my knee. I like the description given by Shannon - a sublux is like a partial dislocation.
My knee dislocated perhaps 10 times before I had surgery. The doctors couldnt decide if they were full dislocations or not because the kneecap was always back in its normal place by the time I saw a doc. The assessed it and the descriptions in the notes is : the kneecap is clinically 'almost' dislocatable :) i.e., they could do it but held back during examination from fully dislocating it. I went to hospital on each occasion it happened before the surgery.
Some years after surgery the regular subluxing started. I hadnt even heard the term sublux until a few years ago so I always refer to my knee as dislocating. I went to hospital the first few times, then i got used to it and now I never do. I have to manually reduce it, i straighten my leg, relax all the muscles, push on my thigh until there is a 'crack' and its back in place. Actually the going out of place bit never hurts, its the putting it back in hurts!!! and afterwards the swelling, soreness, instability etc....
Its not excruciating like the first few dislocations/subluxes were. My physio advises me that after a joint has dislocated (or subluxed) a number of times it just becomes easier and easier, so that why people here can talk about it casually - it really is more of a nusiance than anything else.
The big problem for me with my regular subluxes is that my brain does muscle 'guarding' and as a result my quads (especially VMO) have atrophied terribly. This causes more frequent subluxes, which causes more guarding, which causes more atrophy, which causes more subluxes......etc...etc....
Im now on a rehab program to try and address the atrophy. Going ok, Ive gone from subluxing every 3 days or so to subluxing every 6-8 weeks. So not bad progress :)
Hope that helps.
1986 - recurrent dislocations of right patella began
1988 - Modified Hauser Procedure
1991 - dislocations started again
2005 to 2007 - 150 dislocations in 2 years - OUCH!!!
June 2007 - new OS, new physio
Oct 2007 - VMO woke up
Mar 2008 - big quads, still dislocating
Apr 2008 - next OS app

Offline costumer

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Re: whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2007, 01:51:46 PM »
according to an OS many years ago, the main difference is degree. Subluxation is a partial dislocation - not a full dislocation. That's why a subluxated patella can go back on it's on and isn't quite as painful as a full.

Dx: bi-lat subluxating patellae w/chondromalacia 4/1977
6/78 LR - LK
1/80 TTT-Hauser LK; 12/80 Proximal Realignment Mystery- RK
1/82 Maquet TTT- LK
11/06 Meniscectomy; Mild OA- RK, 12/06 Meniscectomy; Mod OA- LK
3/07 Bi-lat severe arthritis
9/18/07 bi-lat TKR

Offline Leentje

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Re: whats the difference (if any) between subluxed and dislocated ?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2007, 02:33:45 PM »
my kneecaps are subluxed all the time, though dislocate not often anymore.

I got used to the dislocations, it's more uncomfortable than painfull, however I don't wish it to anyone!

Bilat patellar malalignment/PFdysplasia
00/06/83 L wrist #
11/12/00 L knee LR + chondroplasty
21/08/02 L knee TTT
02/03/04 L knee stretched PCL
11/09/07 L ankle dislocation/medial avulsion #
25/05/09 L ankle medial avulsion # AGAIN!
05/06/13 R ankle dislocation