Patellar fractures can occur in a number of ways, including hard falls on the knee, forceful impact from car or sports accidents, and sudden movements or contractions of the thigh muscles.
Symptoms of a patellar fracture typically include pain and swelling at the kneecap or around the knee, bruising, and difficulty straightening the knee. It may also be impossible to walk or put weight on the fractured leg.
Physicians will conduct a physical examination of the knee, checking for deformity and the ability to bend or straighten the leg. The physician will also assess symptoms and medical history. X-rays may be used to identify a patellar fracture.
Treatment of a patellar fracture depends on the extent of the broken bone or bones, and if the kneecap has shifted out of place. In minor fractures, a cast or brace may be used to heal the break. Physical therapy may be used to help regain strength. In severe cases, surgery could be required.