Patellar (kneecap) mobilisations are simple but important exercises to break sticky adhesions that may develop around the kneecap and limit its movement.

As the patella and its related tissues must remain mobile if the knee is to have full flexion and extension (bending and straightening), breaking any adhesions prevents later stiffness.

 

[There are a few problems with this video example. The patella is most mobile when the leg is fully extended (out straight), and a towel under the joint is not indicated). Also a 'glide' is just that, and should not really be a 'rocking' motion. Finally, in one part 'thumbs' are referred to but the patient is using the 'fingers'.]

 


In case you cannot see the video, here is a still sequence -

patellar mobililsations Patellar mobilisation exercises are really important to break early adhesions around the patella and prevent knee stiffness after injury or surgery.
patellar mobilisations The first manoeuvre is a sideways glide. Put two finders on either side of the patella - slide the bone first to one side and then to the other several times. 
patellar mobilisations Then change the finger position so that you can glide the patella upwards and downwards towards your head and then towards your feet. Do this several times.
patellar mobilisations Change the hand position again and apply pressure with the thumbs on the soft area under the patella where the fat pad lies on either side of the tendon. Do several deep friction rotations there on both sides.
patellar mobilisations

The same procedure can be done above the patella to loosen up the soft tissues above the patella itself.

 

With a physiotherapist

It is really best if an experienced physiotherapist shows you how to do the exercises. 

patellar mobilisation You can see that with the leg out straight, the patella should be able to glide right over to the side, as it is no longer bound within the walls of the underlying groove of the femur.
patellar mobilisation This is a glide from top downwards.



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