Luxating Patella

This condition occurs when the patella (kneecap) is dislocated from its position in the groove of the lower thigh bone. Instead of sliding up and down in the groove, it will jump out freezing the leg as the dog holds it off of the ground. To move the patella into place the dog does a ‘hop hop skip’. When dislocation happens it can only return to its correct position once the quadriceps muscle in the hind leg can relax and lengthen.

This condition is most common in toy, miniature breeds and those with short legs.


  • Crying out in pain and stopping suddenly
  • Hop hop skip’ moving when walking or running
  • Reduced movement in knee
  • Holding leg off ground and then resuming movement a period of time after

How massage can benefit

  • Relief of tension and pain in compensating muscles
  • Encourage movement of the affected leg
  • Encourage equal weight bearing on all 4 legs to reduce overcompensation.
  • It reduces soreness and stiffness, therefore alleviating pain
  • Reduce pain and aid recovery post-surgery