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A knee fracture is a break or crack in 1 or more of the bones in the knee joint.  Common knee fracture injuries include:  

Kneecap fractures

Some kneecap fractures can cause just a tiny crack in the bone, while others may cause the bone to shatter or stick out through the skin. This kind of injury generally results from a fall or blow to the knee.

Symptoms of kneecap fractures include:

  • Pain when your knee is touched or when you move your leg
  • You have swelling and bruising around your knee
  • You are able to straighten your leg but you cannot bend it
  • You cannot stand up or put weight on your injured leg

What is the treatment?

  • Treatment can be open reduction-internal fixation surgery where Dr Herald puts the broken bones back together with pins, wires and screws – or removes pieces too damaged to repair.
  • Alternatively the kneecap can be removed (either part or all of the kneecap).
  • After this surgery the knee can still be extended but the extension strength will be weaker.
  • Contact sports should be avoided and stationary bikes and non-weight bearing sports are recommended.

Distal Femar (thighbone) fracture of the knee

  • Fractures of the top part of the knee are called distal femur fractures.
  • They typically occur in the elderly or in high impact injuries such as a car crash.
  • Distal femur fractures can be described as transverse (straight across), comminuted (many pieces) or intra-articular (extend into the knee joint).
  • Additionally these types of fractures may be open (where the skin is broken), or closed (where the skin is intact).
  • Due to the strong musculature around these fractures, it is common for the muscles to shorten and move the bony fragments away from correct alignment.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain with weight bearing
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Deformity — the knee may look “out of place” and the leg may appear shorter and crooked.

What is the treatment?

  • Surgery is often indicated for distal femur fractures.

Proximal Tibia (below knee) fracture

  • Fractures of the bottom part of the knee joint are called proximal tibia fractures. While most of these fractures occur as a result of trauma, they can also occur as a result of stress fracture or compromised bone due to infection, cancer or osteoporosis.
  • Fractures of this region are described as transverse, comminuted or intra-articular.
  • Intra-articular fractures involve fracture of the tibial plateau, a much softer part of the tibia which sometimes presents as a depression in the bone rather than a fracture.
  • Surgical correction and immobilisation are recommended in proximal tibial fractures.

Symptoms of Proximal Tibia (below knee) fracture include:

  • Pain upon movement or when bearing weight
  • Tenderness
  • Limited ability to bend the knee
  • Deformity around or below the knee joint
  • The foot may be cold and pale (reduced blood supply)