The Severity of a Knee Fracture

patient and doctor with x-ray

Your knee is the largest joint in your body and can suffer an injury at several different places. In some cases, you can even fracture your kneecap.

What are some common causes of knee injuries?

Abnormally twisting your knee, falling, or sustaining a direct blow to your knee can lead to an unexpected injury.

This is more likely to occur if you participate in sports and recreational activities as well as your age. Diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis, which are more prevalent as you age, increase your risk of having knee-related injuries.

What are some common types of knee injuries?

Your knee can suffer an injury within the joint itself as well as its cartilage (intra-articular) or away from the joint (extra-articular). Any of the structures that make up your knee can be injured, including ligaments, tendons, or bone. More than one structure can suffer an injury at the same time.

The following are some common types:

  • Sprains or strains – injuries to the ligaments and tendons around the kneecap
  • Meniscus tear – tear in the knee’s rubbery cushioning
  • ACL or MCL – injuries to ligaments
  • Fractures – a break of the kneecap or other bones such as the femur, tibia, or fibula. Fractures can also cause pieces of bone or tissue to get caught in the joint. This can occur in your native knee or around a prior knee prosthesis.

What symptoms can you experience?

You may have one or more of the following:

  • Knee pain
  • Tenderness or swelling
  • Inability or difficulty standing or walking
  • Inability or difficulty straightening your leg

How are knee fractures treated?

In some cases, surgery may not be required if the pieces of bone are not out of place. Instead, you’ll have to wear a cast or splint to keep the ends of broken bone in place so they can heal. You might have restrictions on putting weight on your knee.

Surgery may be needed if your bones are out of place, and the type you’ll need depends on the type of fracture you have:

  • Transverse fracture – Two-part fractures can often be fixed in place with screws or pins, wires, and a configuration tension band. This procedure is often best for treating fractures near the center of your kneecap.
  • Comminuted fracture – The kneecap is broken into several small pieces, and those that are too small to be fixed into place may need to be removed. The loose tendon is then attached back to the bone, and wires and screws can be used to fix the separated pieces.

If you have any symptoms associated with a knee fracture or other injury, make an appointment today with Dr. Rubin at his New Haven, Milford, or Guilford CT offices. Dr. Rubin is a leading expert in knee disorders, including the treatment of fractures, and will provide the most effective treatment to help alleviate pain and increase mobility.

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