Lateral release surgery for patellar tracking disorder

One cause of patellar tracking disorder is a tight lateral retinaculum, a ligament complex that anchors the outer edge of the patella. See a picture of the ligaments of the knee.

If your patella is being pulled to the side by a tight lateral retinaculum, a surgeon may recommend a lateral release. This procedure, often done by arthroscopic surgery, cuts the lateral retinaculum.

Most people with patellar tracking disorder get better without surgery. They get better by doing strengthening and stretching exercises for a few months. And they avoid activities that make the knee worse. Surgery is usually done only when all other treatments have not worked. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.1


  1. Mercier LR (2008). The Knee. In Practical Orthopedics, 6th ed, pp. 215-251. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier.

Last Updated: January 19, 2010

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