Kneecap Fracture Treatment in Lafayette, LA, Can Reduce Your Knee Pain and Restore Your Mobility
A kneecap fracture is a crack or break in the patella, which serves as a protective “shield” for the knee joint. This small, triangular bone is situated at the front of the knee where the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) meet. A patellar fracture can result from a fall onto the knee or a direct blow to the front of the knee.
What are the symptoms of a broken patella?
The most common symptoms of a kneecap fracture are pain, swelling, and bruising at the front of the knee. Sometimes, the broken bone is visible through the skin. Additionally, this type of injury can make it difficult to walk, straighten the knee, and keep the leg extended in a straight-leg raise. These activities are difficult because the patella is attached to the quadriceps muscles by the quadriceps tendon, and to the top of the shinbone (tibia) by the patellar tendon. All of these components must work together to straighten the knee.
How is a kneecap fracture treated?
For a nondisplaced patellar fracture in which the broken bone has not drifted out of position, conservative treatment may be sufficient. However, because the quadriceps muscles that attach to the patella are very strong, the broken bone can potentially shift out of alignment before it fully heals. For this reason, a cast or brace may be used to immobilize the leg and keep the patella in position as it mends. Depending on the nature of the fracture, weight bearing may be restricted for several weeks.
A displaced kneecap fracture may require surgical treatment. To address a two-part (transverse) fracture, a surgeon may place pins, screws, wires, or other hardware, and possibly a tension band in a “figure-of-eight” configuration, to compress and secure the two bone pieces together. To address a comminuted kneecap fracture in which the patella has shattered into several small pieces, a surgeon may remove the loose bone fragments and address the damaged tendons.
Whether or not surgery is performed, physical therapy usually plays a key role in recovery after the bone heals. This may include low-impact and non-weight-bearing exercises, such as riding a stationary bike and lifting weights, in order to avoid stressing the knees.
If you’ve injured your knee, you can turn to Peter D. Vizzi, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana. Dr. Vizzi can evaluate your injury and discuss your treatment options. Schedule an appointment by contacting his office in Lafayette, LA, today.