Knee Fracture

What is a Knee Fracture?

A knee fracture is a break in one or more of the knee bones, usually the kneecap. The ends of the thighbone and shinbone where they meet can also be fractured. Sometimes, the bone(s) can be broken into several pieces or shatter.

Many knee fractures are caused by high-energy accidents, like car accidents or falling from a tall ladder. Men are twice as likely as women to fracture the kneecap. Thighbone fractures are common in people who are older or have weak bones.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of a Knee Fracture?

Pain and swelling are common symptoms of knee fractures. Other symptoms include:

  • Not being able to straighten the knee.
  • Not being able to walk.
  • Bruising.
  • Deformity.

What Are the Treatments for a Knee Fracture?

Treatment for a knee fracture puts the bone(s) or pieces of bone back into the right place and holds them there while they heal. How this is done depends on the broken bone(s) and the type of fracture. Many knee fractures need surgery to restore leg function.

Treatments include:

  • Manually moving the broken bone(s) or pieces of bone into the right place, without surgery.
  • Cast, brace, or splint to keep the bone(s) in the right places while they heal.
  • Skeletal traction, for some thighbone fractures. Traction is a pulley system of weights and counterweights that holds the broken pieces of bone together. The surgeon will put a pin in the bone to keep the leg in the right position.
  • Surgery to move the broken bone(s) or pieces of bone into the right place and hold them there. The surgeon may use wires, pins, screws, plates, or rods to hold pieces of bone together while they heal.