Patellar instability is a disabling musculoskeletal condition. Whilst previous texts have suggested that twisting activities may cause patients to experience instability symptoms, no studies have assessed which activities are related to the patient's perceived instability. The purpose of this study was to determine which activities and with what frequency patients with patellar instability symptoms, perceive their patella to be unstable. Ninety patients referred because of recurrent patellar instability were asked to assess the frequency with which they perceived patellar instability for 19 everyday and sporting activities. The results indicated that sporting and multi-directional twisting activities were more frequently related to patellar instability symptoms, compared to lower energy, uni-planar activities. Females and those without a family history of patellar instability reported more frequent patellar instability symptoms, compared to males, or those with a family history of this disorder. Further study is now recommended to determine whether these results reflect that of patients with milder subluxation disorders, and whether factors such as hypermobility have an impact on perceived patellar instability for this patient group.