Knee Fracture2016-10-12T12:39:53-04:00

Knee Fracture

knee arthroscopy Blacksburg VA

Types of Patella Fractures

The types of patella fractures vary. The kneecap can fracture slightly or it can be broken in many pieces. Sometimes the fracture can occur in more than one area of the kneecap. Types of fractures include:

  • Stable fracture. The stable fractures is non displaced. The broken pieces meet up correctly and are aligned such that the bones can stay in place during the healing process.
  • Displaced fracture. A displaced fracture results when the broken ends of the pieces do not line up and this type of injury often requires surgery to realign the pieces for optimum healing.
  • Comminuted fracture. This type of fracture is unstable and the bone is shattered into three or more pieces.
  • Open fracture. In an open fracture, the skin has been broken open and exposes the bone. The open fractures can cause more damage to surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. These fractures often take longer to heal.

Symptoms of Knee Fracture

The main symptoms of a patellar fracture include pain and swelling in the front of the knee. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Bruising
  • Inability to straighten the knee
  • Inability to bear weight on the knee or walk

X-rays are the most common and widely available diagnostic imaging technique to assess fractures. X-rays are important for showing front and side views of the fracture. Upon examination, the doctor may also be able to palpate the edges of the fracture through the skin, especially if the fracture is displaced.

Treatment of Knee Fracture

Nonsurgical Treatment

You may NOT require surgery if the broken bones have not been displaced by the force of the injury. Your physician will likely use a splint or knee immobilizing brace to keep your knee straight while it heals. During the healing process, you will not bear any weight on your leg. Most people will need to use crutches during this time. After the bones have healed, a rehabilitation program will be prescribed to build strength and range of motion in your leg. Physical therapy exercises will restore the function of your knee and leg and is vital to getting you back into your daily activities.

Surgical Treatment

If the patella has been pulled apart (displaced), surgery will most likely be indicated. Fractured patellar bones that are not close together often have a difficult time healing or may not heal. Your surgeon will secure the bones using small screws, wires and pins. Occasionally, small bone fragments will need to be removed to improve the healing process and reduce pain.

After knee surgery, a period of healing is recommended, followed by a rehabilitation program that will slowly build strength back into the knee. Strict adherence to physical therapy exercises will optimize your recovery.

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