Fractures – A Common Cause of Knee Pain

There are a number of things that can cause knee pain. Fractures can cause an incredible amount of pain, and believe it or not, sometimes just moving the wrong way can cause a fracture, especially among the elderly and others suffering from bone and joint degeneration. Luckily, in most cases, this is a condition that can be taken care of pretty easily and will heal fairly quickly.

Patella Fractures

A patella fracture, probably the most common form of knee fracture, is a fracture of the kneecap, and it is very painful. The main cause of this type of injury is a fall, where the injured has landed directly on the kneecap. It can also happen during an eccentric contraction, or when the knee is straightening while the quadriceps muscle is contracting. The first thing a physician will do for a kneecap fracture is take x-rays, to find out to determine the type and severity of the fracture. Then a course of treatment will be chosen. There are actually many different types of patella fractures, with the most common ones being transverse, vertical, osteochondral and marginal.

Other Types of Knee Fractures

When most people think of knee fractures, they automatically think of the kneecap. But in actuality, a knee fracture can be any fracture of the kneecap and the bones around the knee, including the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone). There are a number of causes for these types of fractures, including sports-related injuries, automobile accidents and falls, particularly falls from heights. As with kneecap fractures, x-rays will confirm the diagnosis of these fractures. In most cases, these fractures can be treated with immobilization, but more severe fractures may require surgery.

Treatment for Patella Fractures

If the patient with a patella fracture is able to raise the foot in the air with a straight leg while laying down, the it is more than likely that treatment will not involve surgery. In this case, there will probably be a few different types of treatments used. Following the wearing of a leg cast or splint, there will be additional forms of treatment, including physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, and hot/cold therapy. If the patient is unable to raise the foot and hold it off the bed, then surgery may be required.

Often surgical treatment of patella fractures involves the use of metal implants. Unfortunately, many patients report that over time, these implants cause pain in the knee, and many patients have a second operation to have the implants removed. In order to make sure that the injury cannot be taken care through other means, these surgeries usually do not take place until at least a year following the injury.

If you have recently fractured your kneecap, you can expect at least six to eight weeks of recovery time, followed by possibly months of therapy, to regain full range of movement and pain relief of the knee. In most cases, patients are up and around within a few weeks. With proper treatment, patients can get back to their normal daily activities in a short period of time, with little pain suffered following the treatments.

Treatment for Other Knee Fractures

Much of the treatment for other fractures is the same as with kneecap fractures. Of course, it will be recommended that you stay off the leg as much as possible, and in many cases, you will be required to wear a splint or case, depending on the type of break. There will probably be medications involved in your treatment, including pain and anti-inflammatory medications, and you will have to undergo physiotherapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, but most of the time, as long as there are no complications, a simple break will heal easily, as long as you follow your doctor’s orders.