Patella malalignment is the result of abnormal orientation of the bones of the hip, knee, or foot. It results from the development of the bones from birth and can result in instability or cartilage irritation (chondromalacia) and breakdown (arthritis).

Patella instability is when the kneecap repeatedly dislocates or subluxes (partially dislocates) from its normal relationship in the knee. The symptoms and history reported by the patient are key. Physical examination usually will show some structural or postural abnormalities in the hip, knee, or foot that are usually the cause of the problem.

Nonoperative options include knee braces, arch supports for the feet, core strengthening, and hamstring flexibility. Surgical options may involve soft tissue repairs or reconstructions or in some cases, realignment of some of the bones of the knee.