Patella Fracture


Patella Fracture

The kneecap, commonly known as the patella, is a small, flat bone located in the front of the knee joint. It plays a crucial role in protecting the joint and extending the leg. A patella fracture is a break in this bone, which can occur for various reasons and cause significant pain and functional limitations. 

Patella fractures can be: 

  1. Simple: A single clean break in the bone.
  2. Comminuted: The kneecap breaks into multiple fragments.
  3. Displaced: The broken fragments of the kneecap separate and no longer align properly.
  4. Not displaced: The broken fragments of the kneecap remain aligned. 

What causes a Symptoms?

The following signs and symptoms are common with a patella fracture: 

What are the Causes & Risk Factor?

Several factors can contribute to a patella fracture, often involving a direct blow or a strong contraction of the quadriceps muscle:

Predisposing factors to patella fracture/ People at Risk

While anyone can suffer a kneecap fracture, certain factors can increase your susceptibility: 

  • Age: As we age, our bones become weaker and more susceptible to fractures, especially with osteoporosis. 
  • Participation in certain sports: Athletes who play sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, and skiing are at increased risk due to increased exposure to falls, direct hits, and sudden changes in direction. 
  • Previous knee injuries: People with a history of knee injuries, including ligament tears or fractures, may have weakened structures around the knee, making them more vulnerable to patella fractures. 
  • Weak quadriceps muscles: Weak quadriceps muscles can put excessive stress on the patellar tendon, increasing the risk of fracture, especially during activities such as jumping or landing. 
  • Muscle Imbalances: Tight hamstrings or calves can disrupt knee mechanics and put additional stress on the patellar tendon. 
  • Osteoporosis: A medical condition characterized by weakened bones, which significantly increases the risk of fractures, including kneecap fractures. 

What are the Treatment Options?

The treatment approach for a patella fracture depends on the severity of the break, the displacement of the fragments, and individual factors. Below is an overview of common treatment options: 

  1. Immobilization: For non-displaced or minimally displaced fractures, a cast or brace might be used to immobilize the knee joint for several weeks, allowing the bone to heal. 
  2. Pain medication: Over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can manage pain and discomfort. 
  3. Physical therapy: After the initial immobilization period, physical therapy is crucial to regain range of motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and improve stability. 
  4. Crutches: Using crutches might be necessary for a short period to avoid weight-bearing on the injured leg, especially with unstable fractures. 

Surgery is typically considered for displaced fractures that: 

  1. Cause significant instability and prevent individuals from bearing weight or resuming their desired activities. 
  2. Involve large fragments or comminuted fractures that require realignment and fixation. 
  3. Are accompanied by damage to other structures in the knee joint, such as ligaments or tendons. 

Surgical options for patella fractures might include: 

    1. Open surgery: This traditional approach involves a larger incision to access the fracture site directly. The surgeon uses screws, wires, or plates to reattach and stabilize the broken fragments. 
    2. Arthroscopic surgery: A minimally invasive technique using small incisions and a camera to visualize the inside of the joint. The surgeon inserts instruments through the small incisions to perform the repair with smaller implants or anchors. 

The recovery time for a patella fracture can vary depending on the severity of the injury, treatment approach, and individual factors: 

Non-displaced fractures: May heal within 6-8 weeks with proper immobilization and physical therapy. 

Displaced fractures: Healing might take several months, especially following surgery, with physical therapy playing a crucial role in regaining full function. 

It’s crucial to note that regaining full strength and flexibility after a patella fracture can take up to a year or even longer, especially for athletes returning to high-demand sports. 

Spine - Neck

Shoulder & Elbow

Spine — Back

Wrist & Hand

Knee Pain

Ankle Pain

Foot Pain

Feeling Aches And Pains?

Book a consultation with us for a more comprehensive diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan best suited to your needs.

Spine - Neck

Shoulder & Elbow

Spine — Back

Wrist & Hand