Medial patella luxation is a condition in which the patella (knee-cap) no longer glides within its natural groove in the femur, the upper bone of the knee joint. It becomes displaced to the inside of the joint and can be partial or complete, intermittent or permanent.

Medial patellar luxation can occur as a result of trauma or develop during the first year of an animal’s life. It is most commonly found in a wide variety of small dogs such as poodles, Yorkshire terriers, Maltese and bichon frise, but it also occurs in larger breeds. Animals may present when they are young, during the first year of life, particularly if the abnormality is severe, or any time later in their life if the problem is lower grade and leads to a more progressive, chronic lameness. Traumatic patella luxation can occur at any age and is usually secondary to being hit by a car.

Lameness can vary from an occasional hitch of the leg, like an intermittent skipping, to a persistent weight bearing lameness. Traumatic luxations are more likely to result in a non-weight bearing lameness.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Medial patellar luxation is generally diagnosed by history, physical examination and x-rays of the affected leg.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. In mild cases, restricted exercise and anti-inflammatory medications may be sufficient. In more severe cases, surgery is recommended. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Lameness
  • Not walking
  • Painfulness or crying

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!