The patella, more commonly known as the kneecap, is a small bone that connects your tibia to your shin. Patellar fractures can occur for many reasons, including slip-and-fall injuries, car accidents, work-related accidents, and various contact sports. These fractures may be relatively simple in nature, but in some cases, they can be quite complex. Below, you can learn more about patellar fractures and the various treatments available to you.
What Is a Patellar Fracture?
A patellar fracture is a crack or break in the kneecap. This break can be as simple as a tiny hairline crack, but depending on the nature of the force, it may also shatter into many pieces. Most patellar fractures are caused by falls; patients land hard on the knee, causing the break. In other cases, these fractures can be caused by blunt trauma to the knee. Sports like football and hockey, car accidents, and work-related collision injuries are relatively common causes of this sort of injury.
How to Know if You Have a Patellar Fracture
The best way to find out whether you have a patellar fracture is to see a doctor immediately after the injury occurs.
Some patients experience very specific symptoms that can help doctors with their diagnoses. These symptoms include a popping sound at the time of the injury, pain and swelling that occurs immediately after the injury, and difficulty
walking, applying pressure on your foot, or even straightening your leg. Your doctor will likely X-ray your knee to see the extent of your injury and provide you with the proper diagnosis.
How to Treat Patellar Fracture
If you are diagnosed with a patellar fracture, the treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. For a small hairline fracture, you may be advised to wear a brace and use crutches to keep pressure off the affected leg for a time. These
fractures tend to heal relatively quickly on their own. For a more serious injury, such as when the bone breaks into multiple pieces, you may need surgery to remove small bone fragments, wire the remaining fragments together, or remove the kneecap altogether. In either case, you may be advised to take pain medications. Some over the counter medications like ibuprofen can help with swelling, and for more severe pain, narcotic pain medications can provide relief.
Patellar fractures are relatively common injuries, and they can happen to anyone at any time. If you have injured your knee, it is important to see a doctor right away to ensure the proper steps are being taken to help you heal. The more quickly you discover the extent of your injuries, the faster you can recover.