Don't be Afraid of the Doctor

Best Treatment Options for a Knee Fracture

The Australian appetite for sports, both for exercise and thrill-seeking, makes the occurrence of joint injuries relatively common in adults and adolescents. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, over 60,000 sports injuries led to hospitalisation. Of this number, a considerable portion experienced joint injuries like kneecap fractures, which can have life-long consequences depending on the type of fracture and the treatment received. But in some cases, swift treatment can almost reverse the effects of the injury.

Here's everything you should know to have the best chances of fully recovering with kneecap injury treatment.

Non-surgical Treatment Is Only An Option When The Bone Pieces Have Not Moved

Kneecap (patellar) fractures occur as the result of a fall or a heavy impact on the small bone sitting on top of your knee. Patellar fractures are severe injuries; therefore, prompt attention can prevent further damage and even increase your chances of full recovery. Generally, surgical treatment is avoided when the bones haven't splintered and their fragments haven't moved too much out of place.  

Instead, your doctor will prescribe the use of a cast or splint, which will keep your knee joint immobilised as it heals naturally. In some cases, your doctor will allow the bearing of weight on the injured leg to keep the muscles active and the blood flow fluid. However, some fractures require avoiding all leg use for a while after the injury. In such situations, doctors will also prescribe medication that prevents the forming of blood clots, minimises inflammation, and reduces cell deterioration caused by the lack of movement.

Surgical Treatment Cannot Be Avoided When Bones Have Been Displaced

Most kneecap fractures lead to bone movement, which necessitates immediate surgery. Not only can the bone fragments cut surrounding blood vessels, but they also prevent the disjointed bone ends from healing. The strength of thigh muscles alone is likely to pull and push against the patellar, which can displace broken bone pieces as your joint heals. The bigger the distance between fractured kneecap bones, the less likely the patellar joint is to heal fully.

Open fractures are particularly prone to infection and are likely to require immediate surgery. Transverse fractures (no shattering of the top bone into several pieces) will often be fixed into place using titanium screws, which the bone can safely heal around. Comminuted fractures, on the other hand, will require the removal of the crushed or splintered bone pieces before the patellar tendon can be attached back to the rest of the bone.