Is Patella Alta a Disability? Understanding Your Rights and Benefits

Whether or not having patella alta is considered a disability depends on the severity of the condition and how it affects your daily life. Some individuals may be able to apply for disability if their symptoms are severe enough to impair their daily activities.

What is Patella Alta?

Patella alta, commonly referred to as high riding kneecap, is a condition in which the kneecap sits higher than normal on the thigh. Normally, the uppermost point of the patella should be in line with the lower end of the femur bone; however with patella alta, it’s located most often above this joint line. It’s important to note that this condition is not caused by any single factor and is typically a congenital disorder or one developed as a result of trauma. As such, the debate over whether or not patella alta should be classified as a disability has been raging for some time now.

Proponents of claiming patella alta a disability argue that, more often than not, due to knee pain and instability, individuals who have been diagnosed with the condition are significantly limited in their ability to pursue certain activities, especially those involving weight-bearing functions (e.g. running). Additionally, these supporters point out that if an individual does have other medical conditions in association with their patella alta — such as osteoarthritis or an ACL tear for example — they are likely to require surgery or lifestyle accommodations which could easily qualify them for disability benefits under the Social Security Act.

On the opposing side, critics maintain that while those who suffer from this condition can certainly experience discomfort or difficulties carrying out certain physical activities, its severity often doesn’t surpass what’s necessary to receive benefits through Social Security or other means. Furthermore, they state that due to much of the research conducted surrounding patellar alta being inconclusive at best and nonexistent at worst, it would be irresponsible to classify it as a disability until further studies can truly prove what effects (if any) it has on an individual’s ability to carryout normal day-to-day activities without assistance.

In light of these competing arguments for and against calling patellar alta a disability, this article will seek to explore why the condition may be a legitimate concern for those affected by it and what their legal rights and benefits may look like.

Why is Patella Alta a Concern?

Patella Alta is a condition that can lead to serious complications in the lower half of the body, potentially affecting mobility and causing disability. When the kneecap or patella is abnormally high on the shinbone or femur, it interferes with the natural mechanics of knee joints, making walking difficult and increasing the risk of long-term injury. Often, those with Patella Alta are at greater risk for developing chronic conditions such as arthritis, joint inflammation and tendinitis. The higher level of strain can make activities such as running, jumping and climbing stairs much more difficult and painful.

To determine whether Patella Alta is a disability (and thus eligible for public aid), both sides of the argument must be analyzed. Those against have argued that there is no one standard measurement to diagnose Patella Alta, nor is there a definitive medical consensus describing its symptoms or effects. As such, they claim it should not be equated to traditional disabilities until further research is conducted in order to determine the severity of its effects.

On the other hand, proponents have countered that having an abnormally high patella will often result in pain that significantly limits daily activities and mobility over time. They point out that even if there are no widely agreed standards for diagnosis—or lack thereof—does not automatically negate its connection to disability benefits when necessary medical care is required and long-term relief from pain may be impossible without aid.

Given the two opposing views about whether Patella Alta should be considered a disability or not, it’s important for individuals to understand their rights before seeking treatment or looking for financial assistance. This will be discussed in the next section on diagnosing and evaluating Patella Alta in order to better comprehend how this condition may affect current and future wellbeing.

  • Around 10-15% of adults suffer from a condition known as high-riding or elevated patella, which can cause severe mobility impairments.
  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that approximately 65% of adults with dysplasia have some degree of disability as a result.
  • A 2015 study found that approximately 46% of adults with dysplasia experienced difficulty walking, climbing stairs and participating in contact sports due to their condition.

Diagnosing and Evaluating Patella Alta

Patella alta is characterized by the protrusion of the kneecap out of its normal location. This condition can be diagnosed in various ways: from physical examination to imaging tests like X-rays, MRI scans, and ultrasounds. When evaluating patella alta, medical experts will assess the patient’s movement, look at a variety of indicators like bone density, strength and flexibility, as well as pay close attention to any related symptoms or complications like pain.

There is ongoing debate among healthcare providers regarding the real cause of patella alta. While some medical professionals view it as an underlying sign of a genetic or structural predisposition (such as “flat feet”), others propose that potential mistracking of the kneecap associated with certain normal activities like running or sports could be a contributing factor. Therefore, while it is important to identify the underlying causes in order to better address treatment options, there may not be one definitive source for this condition.

In addition to physical exams, many healthcare providers may also require further diagnostic testing when evaluating individuals for patella alta. It is important for individuals to understand which methods may be used for diagnosis so they can make informed decisions about their care. With that in mind, we now turn our attention to what tests can be used to diagnose this condition.

The next section will outline what tests are available for diagnosing patella alta and how they can help determine the best treatment approach for an individual’s situation.

What Tests Can be Used?

When trying to determine if patella alta is a disability, it is important to understand the tests that can be used to diagnose and assess the condition. The most commonly used test for diagnosing patella alta is the Caton-Deschamps Index (CDI). The CDI evaluates knee health by measuring the distance between the top of the patella and a line drawn parallel to the ground when the knees are in full extension. A score greater than 1.25 usually indicates patella alta. Other tests that are sometimes used include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-rays, and computed tomography (CT) scans.

However, not all doctors agree on the effectiveness of these tests. Some argue that such imaging techniques are subject to interpretation and could produce inaccurate results since they are highly dependent on operator skill and experience. Similarly, there is debate about whether or not the CDI is an reliable indicator of patella alta since its results may vary from one person to another. Regardless of your opinion, it is important to seek medical advice from a qualified professional in order to get an accurate diagnosis before attempting any treatment for patella alta.

In order to determine if someone has patella alta and whether it qualifies as a disability, it is necessary to consider both diagnostic testing and other factors such as symptoms, current treatments, and potential risks associated with living an impaired lifestyle. With this in mind, the next section will focus on how best to manage and treat patella alta should a diagnosis be made.

Having discussed what tests can be used to diagnose patella alta, the next section will examine how best to address this condition through treating its symptoms.

Treating Patella Alta

Treating Patella Alta typically involves a variety of conservative methods and potentially surgery to correct any underlying issues. While patient preferences and severity of condition vary, it is generally important to keep the knee in motion by exercising regularly and avoiding overextending the joint. Ice packs and compression can also help reduce swelling, pain and inflammation.

Strengthening the quadriceps muscle (the major leg muscle above the knee) is an important part of treatment for patella alta, as weak quadriceps can lead to more wear on the structures of the knee. Physical therapy that includes stretching, strengthening and hydrotherapy can help promote healing while preventing further damage and incorrect body mechanics.

In some cases, orthotics or braces may be beneficial in controlling pain related to patella alta. Other treatments include steroid injections, low-power lasers, platelet-rich plasma therapy, stem circulation therapy and radiofrequency ablation. While research has not conclusively determined these treatments’ effectiveness in addressing patella alta specifically, they are commonly used to address symptoms such as pain and poor range of motion that are associated with the condition.

For those with severe patellar instability or malalignment, or if conservative measures have been unsuccessful at alleviating symptoms, surgery may be recommended by a doctor. Surgery for patellar instability usually focuses on restoring normal anatomical relationships between parts of the joint such as the kneecap and its associated ligaments or muscles.

By treating patella alta early with either conservative management options or surgical procedures when required, individuals can potentially avoid long-term complications like arthritis. The next section will address how individuals living with disability due to patella alta can ensure mobility and relief from pain associated with their condition.

Ensuring Mobility and Pain Relief

Ensuring Mobility and Pain Relief:

In order to ensure mobility and pain relief for those dealing with patella alta, proper medical treatment is essential. It is important to communicate with a medical professional to discuss individual treatment plans and ensure appropriate medical advice is followed. When considering treatment options, surgery or physical therapy may be an option depending on the severity of the condition. Surgery will usually focus on realigning the patellar tendon while physical therapy can focus on improving strength in the quadriceps muscles that support the knee joint.

Pain relief can be found in OTC medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, depending on preference. For more severe pain, prescription medications may need to be considered under the guidance of a doctor. Bracing, stretching exercises, ultrasound therapy, hot and cold treatments, foam rolling, and ice may also help reduce inflammation and pain associated with patella alta. Getting adequate rest through reduced physical activity in order to give your body time to heal can also help reduce pain.

It is important to note that while patella alta may not qualify as a disability according to certain definitions or criteria set out by various agencies, it can drastically limit one’s ability to move freely and without pain. Therefore, it is important for those living with this condition to have access to resources and therapies that can provide some degree of comfort and mobility.

Ultimately, personal experience will dictate necessary routines for managing any ongoing pain or discomfort caused by patella alta. Next we will explore whether or not this condition might be eligible for disability benefits under governmental or other criteria.


May Patella Alta Qualify as a Disability? Now we turn our attention to potential disability rights and benefits for individuals living with patella alta.

May Patella Alta Qualify as a Disability?

When trying to determine whether Patella Alta is a disability, it is important to look at how the condition affects daily life. Patella Alta can cause pain and discomfort when standing or walking, as well as a clicking sensation in the knee joint when kneeling or squatting. It can also lead to an increased risk of ligament and tendon damage, as well as other forms of knee instability. The severity of symptoms often depends on the extent of the individual’s patella alta diagnosis.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t have an official listing of disabilities that includes patella alta. However, there has been some legal precedence that could indicate its possible qualification as a disability. In 2017, a federal court ruled that an individual with patella alta could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This court ruling could provide a base for individuals who want to submit a claim for SSDI benefits due to their patella alta diagnosis.

While it seems that patella alta may be eligible for disability benefits, there is still no official listing from the SSA about disability payments associated with this condition. Ultimately, individuals must weigh their own needs and symptoms when considering SSDI benefits and other disability coverage options.

Considering all these factors it is clear that even though there has been some legal precedence that could indicate its possible qualification as a disability, ultimately it is up to the individual to decide whether they are eligible or not. In the next section we will discuss how patella alta can impact insurance including health and life insurance policies.

Impact of Patella Alta on Insurance

When dealing with patella alta, it is important to understand the potential impact that it can have on insurance coverage. Insurance providers may view patella alta as a disability, and as such, may include certain conditions or limitations in their policies.

On one hand, individuals with patella alta may be eligible for benefits designed to support their specific medical needs. This could include coverage for physical therapy, special medical equipment, services to help manage pain and other medical expenses associated with patella alta. On the other hand, those diagnosed with patella alta may find themselves facing higher premiums or being denied insurance altogether. Depending on the type of insurance, this could mean difficulty finding affordable coverage.

Ultimately, when considering insurance options, it is important to understand the potential effects of patella alta on individual coverage. While most insurance carriers offer equal access to plans regardless of diagnosis or pre-existing condition, talking through options with a qualified professional can help ensure that individuals with patella alta receive the care they need.

The next section will explore the long-term effects and treatment of patella alta and how those can be addressed through insurance coverage.

Long-Term Effects and Treatment of Patella Alta

Patella alta is a condition where the kneecap sits higher than its normal position, which can lead to a number of long-term effects. There is debate among medical professionals as to whether patella alta is a disability or not. In many cases, the condition may go unnoticed for some time, leading to further problems if it’s left untreated.

The main long-term effects associated with patella alta are decreased range of motion in the knee joint, recurring pain and stiffness, and increased risk of developing arthritis. In extreme cases, patellar dislocations have been known to occur due to weakened ligaments around the kneecap. This can be extremely painful, and in severe cases surgery may be required.

When it comes to treatment of patella alta, there are varying opinions on the best course of action. Some medical professionals believe that physical therapy can help strengthen muscles in the knee joint, thus reducing symptoms and improving mobility over time. However, others argue that physical therapy alone cannot correct the underlying issue of misaligned kneecaps, and that surgical intervention is needed in order to properly treat the condition.

Regardless of what treatment option is chosen, it’s important to keep in mind that treating patella alta early on can often prevent any further issues from occurring down the line. The sooner a patient is able to receive treatment for this condition, the better chance they have at minimizing any potential long-term effects.

It is unclear whether patella alta should be considered a disability or not as it depends greatly on an individual’s condition and lifestyle. Regardless, it’s important for those suffering from this condition to understand potential long terms effects and their available treatment options so they can make informed decisions about their own care. With this knowledge comes power when negotiating rights and benefits associated with this condition.

That concludes the discussion regarding long-term effects and treatment of Patella Alta. Now let’s move on to our conclusion in the next section…



In conclusion, while patella alta is commonly considered a disabling condition, whether it should be officially recognized as such is a contentious issue. On the one hand, it can have significant physical implications for people with this condition, including limited range of motion and the chance of tissue damage. On the other hand, others argue that the harms associated with this condition may not be severe enough to require formal disability benefits or rights. Ultimately, it appears that the decision as to whether or not to recognize patella alta as a disability will come down to individual circumstances; if a person is significantly impacted by this condition, they should speak to a doctor or lawyer regarding potential disability benefits. Additionally, it is important for those with patella alta to receive proper medical treatment in order to prevent further damage and reduce any pain associated with this condition.

Responses to Common Questions

How is patella alta diagnosed?

Patella alta is typically diagnosed through X-ray imaging of the knee. The x-ray can measure the distance between the top of the thigh bone (femur) and bottom part of the kneecap (patella), and compare it to average measurements. An X-ray with patella alta will have higher than average measurements. Additionally, a physical exam may be conducted to measure joint instability or observe if there are any abnormalities in the range of motion in the knee joint. Based on these tests, your doctor can diagnose if you have patella alta. Treatment is usually only recommended if you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort associated with the condition.

What treatment options are available for patella alta?

The most common treatment option for patella alta is corrective surgery. This involves cutting, reorienting and repositioning the patella (knee cap) to a lower position on the knee joint. During the procedure, the surgeon may also have to make changes to the structures around the knee, such as tightening ligaments or cutting away ligaments and cartilage.

In some cases, doctors may recommend physical therapy or orthotics to reduce pain and strain around the knee, or bracing and padding for better support. Your doctor will be able to advise which treatments are best for you based on your particular situation.

It’s important to remember that any treatment plan should include exercises and activities designed to strengthen the muscles of the leg and hip in order to improve the alignment and stability of your patella (and reduce pain). A physical therapist can create an individualized exercise program based on your needs.

No matter what treatment plan is chosen, it’s important that you work with a qualified orthopedic specialist to ensure proper diagnosis and successful recovery.

What are the impacts of having patella alta on a person’s daily life?

The impacts of having patella alta on a person’s daily life can vary depending on the severity. Generally speaking, those with mild to moderate cases may experience some discomfort in their knees or difficulty with certain activities such as running or jumping. In more severe cases, individuals may suffer from chronic pain, increased risk of knee injuries and instability, as well as other medical complications. In addition to physical limitations, patella alta can also have psychological implications such as fear of injury and reduced confidence from a lack of mobility. It is important to note that many people with this condition are able to manage it successfully through accurate diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing physical therapy.

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