Acute Patella Injury

Acute Patella Injury

An acute patella injury is an injury to the kneecap or patella from a direct blow or fall onto the knee. This could include bruising or soft tissue injury but in more severe cases a fracture of the patella is also possible. Patellofemoral pain is sometimes a complication to be aware of.

Symptoms

Sudden acute pain at the time of injury will likely be accompanied swelling and bruising. The patella itself will be painful and in more severe cases walking will be uncomfortable or impossible. Pain may be localized to the kneecap or front of the knee, but if other structures have been injured then the whole joint may be painful and swollen.

Direct impact from a football boot, hockey stick or other hard objects can cause a number of injuries including fracture of the patella, dislocation of the patella and damage to the cartilage under the patella (see CMP).

Patella injury treatment

If a fracture of the patella is suspected then an X-ray should be done. If there is no fracture then the injury is usually treated conservatively with rest, cold therapy and NSAID's non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen). In other words, rest and apply cold therapy until it is better. Taping the patella away from any sore spots is also done. Read more on patellofemoral pain which can often occur following an acute patella injury. Activities to avoid are squatting or walking downstairs which place pressure on the patella.

 

Fractured patella

It is important though that a correct assessment of the X-ray is made as some patella's have a natural split in them anyway - called a bipartite patella. If a fracture is confirmed and it is not a complete fracture then treatment would involve applying a splint with the leg straight (in extension). As the fracture heals over the following weeks the amount of bend in the leg allowed is increased.

Fractures which are complete or nearly complete will require surgery and fixation of the patella. Surgical repair of the quadriceps muscles may also be required. Rehabilitation following surgical repair is similar to that above.

Knee Contusion

A knee contusion or bruised knee occurs due to an impact on the knee. This can be due to a fall directly onto the knee or something hitting the knee, such as a ball or club. A contusion is a medical term...

Tibial Plateau Fracture

The tibial plateau is the upper surface of the tibia or shin bone. It is prone to becoming fractured in high-speed accidents such as those associated with skiing, horse riding, and certain water...

Knee Sprain

A knee sprain is a tear to any of the four ligaments which support the knee and can include lateral ligament sprains on the inside or outside of the knee, or tears to the cruciate ligaments deeper...

Patella Dislocation

The patella can dislocate outside of its normal position, usually around the outside of the knee. It can also partially dislocate, called a subluxation. The kneecap will often be visibly displaced...