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Patella is a small, flat, triangular bone situated at the anterior part of the knee. The inner surface forms the front of the knee joint and is covered by cartilage. Softening of the cartilage (chondromalacia) may occur in young adults, causing an aching pain deep in the knee, which is made worse by walking. Exercise of the quadriceps muscle is usually helpful in the treatment of chondromalacia.

Recurrent dislocation of the patella (patellar luxation) usually begins in adolescence if the individual keeps the knee slightly bent for too long and the patella slips sideways, causing severe pain and an inability to straighten the leg. The patella usually can be relocated without a general anesthetic. If the dislocations continue, the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis of the knee later in life increases. The tendon of the patella also can rupture, usually because of some violent exercise, and requires surgery to stitch it back into place. In the same way, a fracture of the patella may occur. treatments depends in part on the severity of the fracture and in part on the age of the patient.

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