3 Common Causes and Treatments for Kneecap Fractures

by / Wednesday, 02 January 2019 / Published in Blog

The knee is not a single bone. It is a joint that comprises of the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and patella (knee cap). Each bone varies in structure and shape that allows the knee to support and move the legs.

The kneecap or patella is a unique bone. It protects the knee and bends and straightens the leg. Since the patella rests on top of the knee joint, a fall or direct blow to the knee can fracture the patella.

Types of Patella Fractures

Patella fractures can be 3 types, including the following –

  • Stable patella fractures involve intact and non-displaced broken pieces of bone. Such fractures are usually treated by immobilizing the knee.
  • Displaced patella fractures. Broken pieces of bone get separated and surgical intervention is required to restore the bones to their natural anatomical position.
  • Comminuted patella fractures are ones where the patella shatters into 3 or more pieces. Based on their severity, comminuted fractures can be treated with non-surgical and surgical treatments.

Causes of Patella Fractures

Three types of patella fractures can be caused due to the following –

  • Falling directly on the knee while walking, running, or participating in exercise programs or sports can cause a patella fracture.
  • Auto accidents may cause the knee to be slammed against the dashboard or seat, breaking the patella.
  • A muscle imbalance may place excessive force of the patella. A quadriceps/hamstring muscle imbalance left untreated can lead to a patella fracture.

Once your knee or orthopedic surgeon determines the type and cause of a patella fracture, effective treatment options can be prescribed.