A patella fracture is a break in the kneecap, the small bone at the front of the knee
that acts as a shield to the knee joint.
A patella fracture is a break in the kneecap, the small bone at the front of the knee that acts as a shield to the knee joint. Fractures of this nature tend to be from high impact accidents such as motor vehicle accidents or falls directly to the knee. Patella fractures result in pain, swelling and bruising to the front of the knee, an inability to straighten the knee and difficulty walking immediately following the injury. Your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam and obtain an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and evaluate the extent of the fracture. The type of fracture will dictate the type of treatment your doctor will implement. If the fracture is stable and the articular side of the patella (the bottom part of the kneecap that glides on femur) stays in anatomic alignment, conservative treatment by immobilizing the knee is used to allow the fracture to heal appropriately. This process takes approximately 6 weeks before rehabilitation therapy can begin. If a patella fracture is displaced, comminuted (in many pieces) or an open fracture it is important to surgically realign the smooth articular surface. Surgical open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) is performed in a hospital setting using screws and/or wires in a cerclage fashion. Once the fracture has healed, a physical therapy program will help decrease stiffness, improve motion and strengthen the muscles that surround the knee.
Every patient receives an in-depth consultation to devise a treatment plan that is right for their problem. Our specialists prefer non-operative and non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections. When we require surgery, we will then use minimally invasive surgical techniques to fix your problem, whether it is fixing a broken bone or repairing a tendon. Our goal is always to get you back to living your life normally as soon as possible.