What is Kneecap Fracture?
Kneecap is a triangular located on the front of knee connected with several tendons and ligaments to thigh bone and shin bone. It acts like a shield and protect your knee joint. Even though, kneecap is not necessary for some functions like bending or walking, it absorbs lots of stress while squatting or climbing upstairs.
If the kneecap experience direct blow due to awkward fall, acute stress falls on kneecap, which will result in crack or break of patella. Since kneecap do not fracture easily, it is often associated with injuries such as patellofemoral joint damage or a quadriceps tear.
About 1% of kneecap injuries makes up patella fracture and people in age group of 20-50 years are most susceptible to kneecap fracture. Men suffers from kneecap fractures twice than women. Fractures in children as well as adolescents are very rare.
Types of Kneecap Fracture:
Kneecap fracture varies greatly in many ways i.e. partial or complete fracture, or complete bone is broken. In some cases, kneecap is broken along with tear to associated ligaments or tendons. Kneecap fracture is severe injury and in many cases surgery is required for successful recovery.
Stable Fracture: The bone is not displaced. The bone stays in its place.
Displaced Fracture: The bone is displaced and do not line up.
Open Fracture: Skin breaks and exposes the bone. It is often associated with multiple damages to ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Comminuted Fracture. This type of break is very unstable because it is broken into many pieces.
What are the Symptoms of Kneecap Fracture?
There are several symptoms of kneecap fracture and some of them are:
- Pain in the kneecap.
- Audible popping sound at the time of injury.
- Poorly localized but severe pain.
- Swelling around the knee.
- Unable to move knee.
- Difficulty in extending or straitening leg.
- Tenderness on the kneecap.
- Bruising can also be developed.
- Unable to walk properly.
- Kneecap will look deformed or distorted.
What are the Causes of Kneecap Fracture?
Kneecap fracture can be caused due to several reasons such as
- Direct blow to front side of the knee due to awkward falling or colliding with vehicles or cars.
- When thigh muscles is contracted aggressively, its separate the kneecap.
- Improper techniques while jumping and running.
- Result of overuse injury.
Diagnosis of Kneecap Fracture:
Doctors will examine your knee and discuss the symptoms as well as detailed medical history. X-rays are extremely important useful in evaluating the fractures in the bone. Even, MRI and CT scan is needed for any associated injury.
Treatment of Kneecap Fracture:
The treatment for kneecap injuries depends on the type and severity of fracture. PRICE formula is very beneficial in controlling the pain and swelling initially. It stands for protect, rest, ice, compress and elevate. If the fracture is stable, then casting, immobilizing and splinting is extremely effective. In this type of fracture, patient can be able to perform straight leg raise and bears weight of the body. Knee brace and gentle exercises will help the fracture to get healed.
Physical threrapy for strengthening and conditioning your leg muscles will avoid further injuries . Low impact exercises like stationary bikes are good in the case of kneecap fracture. But, consult your physical therapist before performing any exercises. Some initial exercises are static quadriceps contraction, knee bend to straighten, and hip extension in standing.
If the fracture is severe, then doctors may advise surgery. Broken bones will be attached to its place with the help of screws, wires and pins. Some surgeries are Tension band wiring, longitudinal anterior band, patellectomy and circlage wiring.
Rehabilitation program is necessary for proper treatment. Knee brace, gentle movement exercises and knee strengthening exercises are extremely effective post surgery.
Recovery Period for Kneecap Fracture:
Kneecap fracture generally requires 4-6 months for complete recovery after the surgery. Sometimes, metal implants could result in second possible surgery because it will become painful over the time. Some other complications associated with kneecap fracture are infection, chondromalacia and knee arthritis.
Conclusion – Kneecap Fracture:
The outlook is good and patient can resume their activities once the kneecap fracture heals. However, it is advisable to wear good comfortable shoes. Ensure you stretch and perform some warm-up exercises before any high intensity sports.