A knee fracture is a break or crack in 1 or more of the bones in the knee joint. Common knee fracture injuries include:
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
- Limited ability to bend the knee
- Deformity around or below the knee joint
- The foot may be cold and pale (reduced blood supply)