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Patella Fracture (Kneecap Break) Treatment

The patella, or kneecap, protects your knee joint and allows for fluid movement. Direct impact to the knee can result in a patella fracture, or kneecap break, causing intense pain in the knee region. If you need patella fracture (kneecap break) treatment in New York City, consult Jonathan Glashow, MD, Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine for the most advanced medical care for your fracture injury.

Causes and Symptoms of a Broken Kneecap

The patella is a triangular bone positioned on the front of the knee, protecting the joint and connecting the quadricep muscles to the tibia (shinbone). A kneecap break is a common injury when a person lands on a hard surface on their knee, or direct impact hits the knee in an accident or contact sport. Some kneecap breaks are simple, with just one break. Other serious knee injuries can shatter the patella into several pieces, or create an open fracture that breaks the skin. Symptoms include:

  • Knee pain
  • Swelling and bruising of the knee
  • Unable to extend the leg
  • Unable to perform a straight leg raise
  • Difficulty walking

A simple, or stable, patella fracture may be treated without surgery. In these types of kneecap breaks, the pieces of bone remain in place and the kneecap is stable. A splint or cast can be used to hold the kneecap in place while the fractures heal.

Displaced, open or comminuted (shatter) fractures of the patella often will require surgery. The quadricep muscles can easily pull the pieces of a broken kneecap out of place. Surgery can involve removing any bone fragments and repairing the kneecap with surgical hardware, followed by immobilization and rehabilitation.

Expert medical care for a patella fracture is vital for complete recovery. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment. Jonathan Glashow, MD, Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine offers emergency appointments for knee injuries, including kneecap breaks, at our medical clinic on the Upper East Side of NYC.

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