Although the incidence of a broken kneecap, also known as your patella, is (thankfully) rare, accounting for an estimated 1% of all skeletal injuries, when this injury does occur, it is vital to seek the care of an experienced orthopedic physician. At EmergeOrtho, we have an entire team of board-certified orthopedic physicians and surgeons dedicated to addressing conditions and injuries of the knee.
Our fellowship-trained doctors are renowned for personalizing treatment plans to help you Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.
High-Quality, Compassionate Care for Broken Kneecaps
Also known as a patellar fracture, a broken kneecap typically occurs as the result of a fall or direct blow to the kneecap. Indirect fractures have also been known to happen by sudden muscle contractions. Since the small patella bone on top of the knee serves as a guard, any type of direct blow can cause a fracture. This outcome can result from an individual having their knees too close to the dashboard during a car accident.
Often, patients know when they have experienced a broken kneecap. Common symptoms include:
- Swelling on the front of the knee
- Inability to walk
- Inability to straighten the knee
- Inability to keep the knee extended
Once your doctor X-rays and examines the knee, one of four types of patellar fracture diagnoses can be made, which include:
- Comminuted Fracture. The patella shatters into three or more pieces.
- Displaced Fracture. The broken ends of the patella separate, often also disrupting the smooth joint surface.
- Open Fracture. Broken pieces of the patella bone break through the skin and typically damage the surrounding soft tissues of the knee.
- Stable Fracture. The pieces of the broken kneecap are still connected, with a millimeter or two of separation.
Based on your diagnosis, an orthopedic knee specialist will determine whether non-operative or surgical intervention treatment methods are warranted. Our EmergeOrtho Knee Team will create an individual treatment plan to ensure the safest, most effective recovery for your injury.
What Kind of Treatment Options are Available for a Broken Kneecap?
If your knee injury is less severe, your orthopedic doctor will likely recommend a conservative treatment method. Splinting with a cast or brace, combined with weight-bearing restrictions are often the most effective treatment approach for a stable fracture.
In the event your broken kneecap diagnosis is severe and the bones are displaced, surgical intervention will have the best outcome for recovery. An open fracture may even require immediate surgical intervention for the best healing results. Our EmergeOrtho Knee Surgeons perform several advanced knee surgeries to address varying types of patellar fractures, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and innovative approaches.
Both non-operative and surgical treatment for a broken kneecap includes an element of rehabilitation for optimum healing. Your surgeon will likely recommend physical therapy or special exercises and stretches to help:
- Strengthen the muscles of the legs surrounding the knee
- Improve range of motion and movement in the knee
- Decrease stiffness and improve mobility of the knee
If you suspect you have a broken kneecap, do not wait to seek treatment! Request a consultation now for precision diagnosis and treatment from the EmergeOrtho Knee Team.