Knee Fracture

Knee fracture at a glance

  • Several injuries may be considered part of a fractured knee, including a broken kneecap (patella), or breaks close to the knee joint in the bones of the upper or lower leg.
  • Knee fractures are often caused by forceful twisting or wrenching of the knee, falling onto a hard surface, or by direct trauma such as car accidents or contact sports.
  • Symptoms of a fractured knee include intense pain, swelling, visible deformity of the knee, and difficulty moving the affected joint.
  • Treatment of a broken knee will depend on the location and severity of the injured bones and surrounding tissue. Treatment may include immobilization, rehabilitation, pain medication, and/or knee reconstructive surgery.

Causes of a knee fracture

Falls, accidents, and other types of trauma commonly cause knee fractures. When a powerful force directly impacts the knee, as in a car accident or contact sport, the thighbone (femur) or shinbones (tibia or fibula) may break close to the knee joint.

Falls onto hard surfaces or from a great height can cause the kneecap (patella) to break or shatter.

Additionally, people who have osteoporosis or cancer may have weakened bones that are more likely to break.

Symptoms of a knee fracture

Symptoms of a fractured knee include severe pain, swelling and visible deformity. Pain may worsen with movement or pressure. It may also be difficult or impossible to walk or put weight on the affected leg.

Treatment of a knee fracture

A fractured knee is a serious injury that requires immediate medical attention. Until help arrives, try not to move the knee, and apply ice to the injured area to keep swelling down.

Treatment for a fractured knee will depend on the severity of the injury, and the location of the broken bone(s). Typically, the knee will be immobilized in a cast while it heals. In some cases, surgery may be necessary, especially if the kneecap is shattered.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation will help restore strength and movement to the affected areas once the break has healed.

Contact us to schedule an appointment with our knee specialists to learn about your treatment options.