Image description

Luxating Patella

A condition caused when the knee cap (patella) moves freely from side to side as a result of the groove (trochlea) in which it sits being too shallow. This groove is located on the femur and there will also be the patella ligament which attaches to the tibia and patella; this ligament will struggle to hold the patella in place during movement.




This condition is caused due to malformation of the femur, tibia or tibial crest to which the patella ligament attaches. Although the exact cause of patella luxation is not fully known.


The patella will luxate (move) from side to side when the dog moves as the groove (trochlea) is not deep enough. This in turn results in the patella popping out of the groove and moving freely within the joint. The patella ligament is also sometimes attached too far inward at its point of attachment on the tibia. This means that when the muscles contract the patella tries to pull against the inner groove but luxates as the ligament cannot hold it in place efficiently.




  • Hopping with the back leg raised
  • Yelping in pain
  • Poor range or natural movement
  • Inability to weight bear on the affected leg
  • Sudden recovery and normal movement
  • Intolerance to handling on the affected limb
  • Reluctance to move at pace


Benefits of massage


  • Relieves pain referral and overcompensation areas
  • Reduces stiffness
  • Lengthens muscles at attachment and insertion points
  • Promotes range of movement
  • Relieves tightness in lower back muscles
  • Promotes equal use of hind limbs