Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.
Skip to main content

Everything About Kneecap Fracture

The patella is one of three bones that make up the kneecap. It is covered in cartilage on the underside and is important in maintaining the strength of straightening the knee joint. A fracture is a break in the bone. A fracture usually happens when there is a direct fall onto the kneecap.

A fracture like this can also damage the underlying soft tissue and the skin and result in an open fracture. A fracture can also occur when the quadriceps muscles contract but the knee is straight. When the muscle pulls forcefully the patella can fracture.

Sometimes the patella can fracture with a minor injury, but this is often a result of weak bones which can be caused by osteoporosis.

Names of fractures include:

Patella fractures can be severely painful and make it difficult to walk.

Signs of a patella fracture include:

Treatment includes an exam in the emergency room and an x-ray to determine how bad the break is, as well as, determine the type of break. One critical factor is the ability to do a straight leg raise from a laying position.

This tests the quadriceps muscle and its attachment to the shin bone (tibia). A separation of the quadriceps tendon, patella and/or the patella tendon cause the inability to lift the leg. If the leg can be lifted then non-surgical treatment could be possible in order to set the fracture.

Knee swelling is common and is from the bleeding from the fractured ends of the bone. If there is a large amount of bleeding then an aspiration would be done to remove the blood resulting in pain relief. In addition, a knee immobilizer will decrease the discomfort from the injury.

Minimally displaced fractures or non-separated fractures can usually be treated without surgery. An immobilizer or a straight leg cast may be sufficient treatment.

Surgical intervention is necessary for displaced separated fractures. The process involves:

A common complication of patella fracture surgery is the metal implants can become painful especially when able to kneel. Often there is a second surgery to remove the hardware. This can be done a year after the first surgery.

An important aspect of surgery is to repair the cartilage to prevent the development of arthritis of the knee joint. Damage to the knee joint cartilage can result in a higher chance of arthritis in the joint.

Other possible complications may include:

Rehab will be needed once the kneecap has healed sufficiently as the knee is kept straight initially to allow healing. Being able to move the knee will depend on the strength of the repair but gentle movement may begin within the first few weeks after surgery.

FXRX INC has experience in fixing fractures of all types. For consultation – contact the office at 480-449-FXRX (3979)

1215 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Suite 105
Tempe, AZ 85281

You Might Also Enjoy...

Chronic Foot Pain: Could It Be a Stress Fracture?

Foot pain can stem from various causes, ranging from minor injuries to more serious conditions. One often overlooked but relatively frequent cause of chronic foot pain is a stress fracture. Our specialty team explains.
Benefits of Custom Orthopedic Bracing

Benefits of Custom Orthopedic Bracing

Various injuries and chronic conditions benefit from orthopedic bracing, from preserving joints through recovery to enhancing comfort as you go about your daily routine. Our specialty team discusses why custom bracing often offers the best solutions.

Degenerative Rotator Cuff Tears: What You Need to Know

Degenerative rotator cuff tears can cause significant pain and limit shoulder function, but you don’t have to live with the discomfort. There may be steps you can take to reduce the risk of this often age-related problem.

I Was Injured at Work: What Are My Next Steps?

Depending on its severity, any injury can cause significant pain and disability as you undergo diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Work injuries can add extra layers of stress due to the steps you must take during the process. We can help.
4 Benefits of Knee Arthroscopy

4 Benefits of Knee Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy offers a minimally invasive solution for knee pain that can get you back on your feet faster than you might think. Learn more from our specialty team about what to expect after knee arthroscopy and who benefits
Why Is PRP Popular Among Athletes?

Why Is PRP Popular Among Athletes?

The demand for effective, natural treatments that can heal injuries and boost performance continues to evolve for athletes at all levels. PRP therapy promises to do just that. Dive into how PRP works and its pro-athlete benefits.