Unlocking Mobility

Optimizing Post-operative Outcomes with Patellar Mobilization

A woman performing a physical therapy exercise called patellar mobilization.

Knee surgery is a significant event that requires diligent post-operative care and rehabilitation. One essential aspect of the recovery process is patellofemoral mobilization. This technique focuses on restoring and maintaining mobility of the patellofemoral joint between the patella (kneecap) and the femur (thigh bone). In this post, we will explore the importance of patellofemoral mobilization after knee surgery and how it plays a crucial role in optimizing post-operative outcomes.

Benefits of Patellar Mobilization

  • Restoring Normal Biomechanics: The patellofemoral joint plays a vital role in the functioning of the knee. After surgery, scar tissue and muscle weakness can develop, limiting the mobility and proper tracking of the patella. Patellofemoral mobilization techniques help ensure normal biomechanics by protecting the integrity of the naturally occurring spaces present above and below the knee cap.  The integrity of these spaces allows for normal knee range of motion, reduced contact pressure on the knee’s cartilage surfaces and normal quadriceps muscle function.
  • Regaining Range of Motion: Following knee surgery, it is common to experience a reduction in knee flexion and extension. Patellofemoral mobilization techniques help improve range of motion of the knee by improving the mobility of the patellofemoral joint.  This motion of the patellofemoral joint is key for the knee to flex and extend fully. By restoring the normal movement of the kneecap, individuals can regain the knee mobility necessary to perform everyday activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and bending the knee without pain or limitations.
  • Restoring Strength: Normal patellar mobility is essential to restoring strength. The ability to maximally contract and strengthen the quadriceps muscle is contingent upon normal mobility of the patellar and full extension of the knee. Patellar mobilization helps create the optimal environment within the knee after which strength can be developed. 
  • Reduced Pain: By ensuring the integrity of the naturally occurring spaces in the knee, patellar mobilization helps to reduce knee pain by ensuring the knee has as much volume as possible, reducing the joint contact pressure and load on the articular cartilage.


Patellofemoral mobilization plays a vital role in the successful rehabilitation of individuals after knee surgery. By restoring normal biomechanics, regaining range of motion, reducing pain, and enhancing strength, it helps individuals regain their independence and quality of life. Remember, proper guidance and supervision from a healthcare professional are essential to ensure that patellofemoral mobilization techniques are performed correctly and safely. With a comprehensive rehabilitation program that includes patellofemoral mobilization, individuals can optimize their post-operative outcomes and confidently return to an active and pain-free lifestyle.

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