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Is an individually tailored programme of intense leg resistance and dynamic exercise acceptable to adults with an acute lateral patellar dislocation? A feasibility study

Forde, C., Haddad, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-4822-5482, Hirani, S. P. ORCID: 0000-0002-1577-8806 & Keene, D. J. (2021). Is an individually tailored programme of intense leg resistance and dynamic exercise acceptable to adults with an acute lateral patellar dislocation? A feasibility study. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 7(1), article number 197. doi: 10.1186/s40814-021-00932-x


Background: Lateral patellar dislocations mainly affect active teenagers and young adults. To help people recover, non-surgical exercise-based treatment is often recommended but the optimal exercise-based treatment is unknown. Currently, treatment outcomes after this injury are variable. Common problems include recurrent dislocation, reduced activity levels, and later surgery. A programme of intense leg resistance exercises, and dynamic exercises related to participants’ activity-related goals, has rationale, but has not been previously reported. In line with the Medical Research Council guidance, this study aimed to assess the acceptability of a novel evidence-based exercise programme for adults after acute lateral patellar dislocation and the feasibility of future research evaluating this treatment.

Methods: A single-group prospective study was conducted at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK. Participants were 16 years or older with an acute first-time or recurrent lateral patellar dislocation. Participants received up to six face-to-face, one-to-one, physiotherapy sessions, over a maximum of 3 months, and performed intensive home exercises independently at least three times per week. Strategies to increase exercise adherence were used. Primary objectives were to determine the number of eligible patients, the recruitment rate (proportion of eligible patients that provided written informed consent), participant adherence to scheduled physiotherapy sessions and self-reported adherence to prescribed exercise, and intervention acceptability to participants measured by attrition and a study-specific questionnaire. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Fifteen of 22 (68%) patients with a lateral patellar dislocation were eligible. All eligible (100%) were recruited. Two of 15 (13%) participants provided no outcome data, 2/15 (13%) provided partial outcome data, and 11/15 (73%) provided all outcome data. Questionnaire responses demonstrated high intervention acceptability to participants. Participants attended 56/66 (85%) physiotherapy sessions and 10/11 (91%) participants reported they ‘always’ or ‘often’ completed the prescribed exercise. One participant redislocated their patella; another experienced knee pain or swelling lasting more than one week after home exercise on three occasions.

Conclusion: The intervention appeared acceptable to adults after acute lateral patellar dislocation, and a future randomised pilot trial is feasible. This future pilot trial should estimate attrition with increased precision over a longer duration and assess participants’ willingness to be randomised to different treatments across multiple centres.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.govNCT03798483, registered on January 10, 2019

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Publisher Keywords: Physical therapy, Rehabilitation, Kneecap, Patellofemoral, Instability, Conservative, Non-operative, Pilot
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Patellar Dislocation Feasibility 2021.pdf]
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