(Broken Kneecap; Fracture, Patella; Kneecap Fracture; Patellar Fracture)
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The fracture may be caused by:
- A blow to the knee
- A fall onto the knee
- Forced stress on the muscle that extends the knee
This problem is more common in men. Other things that may raise the risk are:
- Playing contact sports such as football and soccer
- Having health problems that weaken bones, such as osteoporosis
- Low muscle mass
Patella fracture may cause:
- Knee pain and swelling
- Problems moving the knee and walking
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done, paying close attention to the knee.
Images will be taken of the knee. This can be done with:
Treatment will depend on how severe the injury is. It can take weeks to months to heal. Medicine will be needed to ease swelling and pain. Other options are:
Most fractures happen due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may help prevent injury. A healthful diet and regular exercise can help build healthy bones and muscles.
A mild fracture may be treated with a cast to keep the knee from moving as it heals. A brace, cane, or crutches may be needed after the cast comes off. Exercises will also need to be done to promote strength and movement.
- Jarraya, M., Diaz, L.E., et al. Imaging of patellar fractures. Insights Imaging, 2017; 8 (1): 49-57.
- Patella fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/patella-fracture-emergency-management.
- Patellar (kneecap) fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedics website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00523.
- Nicole S. Meregian, PA
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