A direct and forceful blow to the knee or falling heavily onto the knee results in an acute patellar injury. Fracture of the patella or the kneecap may also occur.
What is Acute Patellar Injury?
An acute patellar injury1 is caused due to a direct and forceful blow to the knee or falling heavily onto the knee such as in football, hockey, or blow from other hard objects. Such type of injuries may also cause fracture of the patella, dislocation of the patella, and damage to the cartilage under the patella (CMP).2
X-rays can confirm fracture of the patella. If there is no fracture then conservative treatment for the injury such as rest, cold therapy and use of NSAID’s3 (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) helps. Other measures which help in healing are applying cold therapy, taping the patella, and avoiding activities, which put pressure on the patella such as squatting or walking downstairs.
Causes for Acute Patellar Injury
- A direct forceful injury to the knee.
- Falling on to the knee.
Symptoms of Acute Patellar Injury
- Patellar fracture causes a great deal of pain and swelling.
- Difficulty and pain upon flexing the knee.
- If the kneecap has fractured or broken completely, the patient may feel a gap in the kneecap.
Treatment for Acute Patellar Injury4
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) principle should be applied.
- Medical attention should be sought.
- Anti-inflammatories6 may be given for pain and inflammation.
- Cold therapy and knee braces or supports can be used.
- Fracture of the patella should be diagnosed accurately as bipartite patella has a natural split in it and can be mistaken for a fracture.
- Incomplete fractures require application of splint while keeping the leg straight. As the fracture heals, the extent of the flexion in the leg should be increased.
- Complete or almost complete fractures require surgery and fixation of the patella. In some cases, quadriceps muscles may also require surgical repair.
- Rehabilitation5 should be followed after surgical repair and complete healing.