© 2017 OA Knee Pain. All Rights Reserved.

A broken kneecap is one of the less likely knee injuries but can be incredibly painful and debilitating to those that do suffer from one. They are usually caused by the result of a direct blow to the knee, which can happen by falling forward, in a car accident or while playing sports such as football and rugby.

Types of kneecap fractures

There are three types of kneecap fractures:

  • Extra-articular or supracondylar, which is a fracture that stops before the knee joint line
  • Partial-articular or condylar, which is a fracture that reaches the knee joint line but still connects the condyles to the femur
  • Complete-articular or intercondylar, which is a fracture through the knee joint line that disconnects the condyles from the femur

Fractures can also be categorised as displaced or nondisplaced. Displaced fractures are where the fracture has caused bones to move out of alignment and are more difficult to treat while nondisplaced fractures are vertical fractures that keep the bones in line.

Symptoms of a fractured patella

There are many symptoms that present themselves when you fracture a kneecap, including:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Deformity in the knee or thigh
  • Loss of mobility

If the kneecap is completely fractured, you may be able to feel a gap.

Patella Fracture - Knee Cap Fracture - OA Knee Pain X-ray of a patella fracture

Treatment

An X-ray will be carried out to determine the fracture pattern of the kneecap. A computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan will then be taken to reveal the extent of the damage. From this, a treatment plan can be put in place.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on what kind of fracture you have suffered. A nondisplaced fracture is easier to treat by applying a plaster cast for between six and 12 weeks with X-rays taken every 10 days to ensure healing is correct. While a displaced fracture is trickier as surgery is required first to fix an internal issue. The surgeon will use a plate and screws to secure the joint in place throughout the healing process.

How long will it take to recover?

For the six to 12 weeks you will be in a cast, you will be rendered immobile. Once the cast has been taken off, you will require a couple of weeks of physiotherapy to improve flexibility and return strength to the muscles in the leg. Most patients are usually fully recovered within six months.

To prevent reoccurrence, sport should not be resumed until the six-month recovery period is over and we would advise wearing a cushioned support, bandage or brace around the knee to keep it protected. With climbing stairs being a known irritant, our advice is to put weight on the heel rather than the front of the foot to ease the pressure put on the knee joint.

Although most people do make a full recovery, there are some complications which could arise later in life. For example, arthritis due to the cartilage damage and a weakness in the leg muscles due to being off your feet for a considerable amount of time.

How would you rate the information on this page? (Your feedback is greatly appreciated)

Sign up to the OA Knee Pain newsletter

OA Knee Pain Social Board

Bringing you the latest news, research and treatment breakthroughs from the world of osteoarthritis

Visit our blog

Filter
  • twitter
  • blog
#

Why is it important to focus on multiple treatment options simultaneously?


Because there is no stand-out, totally effective single treatment for osteoarthritis, people with the condition often find it best to put together a personal portfolio of treatments that will work together to help relieve pain and improve mobility. The combination that works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to understand what’s available, how effective it is and whether it will help your personal condition.

#

What are the top 10 most common causes of osteoarthritis?


Osteoarthritis, or OA, is a degenerative joint condition that affects over 8 million people in the UK. This disease is the most common form of arthritis, and is particularly prevalent amongst the older population. Affecting the cartilage in a joint, osteoarthritis can result in pain, stiffness and reduced mobility.

#

National Arthritis Week 2017


The week commencing 9th October 2017 is National Arthritis Awareness week, a campaign run by Arthritis Research UK with the aim of raising awareness of Arthritis and the impact that is has on the UK.

Offloading knee braces have been a hot topic in the press recently but just how do they work? And can they help you… https://t.co/MqUNcwIbFK

#

Offloading knee braces in the press: How do they work? And can they help you?


Today (3rd October 2017) the Daily Express published an article in which Sharron Davies has spoken out about her knee pain and how an offloading brace has helped. “Sharron believes the brace has transformed her life and is keen for people to be more aware of their options if they are told they need a knee replacement.” With this sentiment in mind, and the fact that offloading knee braces have been the topic of discussion in a number of publications in recent weeks, OA Knee Pain has looked into the Unloader One® by Össur. This popular knee brace is worn by Sharron Davies and a number of other well known figures to help ease and manage knee pain.