The knee can be divided into three compartments: patellofemoral, medial and lateral tibiofemoral compartment. The patellofemoral compartment is the compartment in the front of the knee between the knee cap and thigh bone. In order for this to function normally, the cartilage surfaces need to be smooth and needs to track correctly as well within the trochlear groove. Patellofemoral instability occurs when the patella moves either partially (subluxation) or completely (dislocation) out of the trochlear groove. Patellofemoral cartilage loss can range from a “pot hole” in the road (where cartilage restoration may play a role) to a level where the entire road needs to be resurfaced (where partial knee replacement may be more appropriate).
While most issues are best served by initial non-operative management, if surgery is necessary it can include one or multiple of the following: