The kneecap, or the patella, is a triangular bone at the front of the knee. Various ligaments and tendons connect the kneecap, including ones attached to the femur (upper leg bone) and tibia (lower leg bone).
The kneecap is not necessary for bending the leg or walking, but it makes the muscles more efficient and absorbs much of the pressure between the upper and lower parts of the leg.
Activities such as squatting and climbing stairs can put up to seven times the normal body weight on the kneecap and the joint behind it.
Kneecap fracture represents around one percent of all skeletal injuries. The kneecap can fracture in various ways: partially or fully, into a few or multiple fragments. At times, when the kneecap is fractured, the ligaments or tendons attached to it can become torn or sprained.
Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler provide procedures for the knee and shoulder to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and surrounding locations.
What causes a Fractured Kneecap?
A majority of kneecap fractures develop in individuals aged between 20 and 50 years. Patellar fractures mostly occur due to:
Falling directly onto the knee
Sustaining a sharp blow to the knee, such as might occur during a head-on vehicle crash if the kneecap is driven into the dashboard.
The patella can also sustain a fracture indirectly. For instance, a sudden contraction of the quadriceps muscle in the knee can pull the patella apart.
In case the bone fragments are not out of place or displaced, the patient may not require surgery. The doctor may apply a splint or cast to enable the knee to remain straight and prevent any leg movement. This will allow the broken ends of the bones to remain in proper alignment as they heal.
If the bone fragments displaced, the patient will most likely require surgery.
Timing of surgery: In case the skin around the fracture has been broken, the doctor may recommend waiting until these injuries have healed prior to undergoing surgery.
However, open fractures pose an additional risk of infection. Such patients are scheduled for surgery as soon as possible, often within hours. At the time of the surgery, the cut from the injury and bones surfaces are properly cleaned out. The bone will usually be repaired during the same procedure.
Transverse fractures are usually fixed in place using pins or screws and wires and a “figure-of-eight” configuration tension band. This band presses the two fragments together.
Using small screws or small screws and small plates is another treatment approach for transverse fractures.
Sometimes a patient may injure the top, or more commonly the bottom patella. It may be broken into multiple small fragments. This type of fractures develops when the kneecap is initially pulled apart from the injury and is subsequently crushed when the patient falls on it.
As the bone pieces are too tiny to be fixed back into place, the surgeon will remove them. They will then connect the loose patellar tendon to the remaining patellar bone.
Board certified orthopedic surgeons at the Thomas and Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada as well as Greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, Mesquite, NV, and nearby areas for knee and shoulder procedures.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board-certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. Contact the office today click here.
Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada.