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How Do You Know If You Broke Your Knee

What Else Can Help

I BROKE My Knee! (Update)

Strengthening exercises are a vital part of rehab whenrecovering from knee cap injuries. Acombination on kneecap exercises and general strengthening exercises helpsreduce pain, improve function and reduce the chance of future problems.

If these knee cap injuries aren’t sounding like your problem, visit the knee cap pain section for other common causes of patella pain, or visit the diagnosis section for help working out what is causing your pain.

Page Last Updated: 10/14/21

How To Tell If You Have A Bruised Mcl

Your medial collateral ligament — or MCL — is located along the inside of your femur — thigh bone 1. Your MCL runs down the side of your knee and connects to your tibia — shin bone. Your MCL functions to prevent your knee from buckling under stress. A bruise to your MCL can occur as the result of a direct blow to the inside of your knee or as the result of an abnormal twisting or movement of your knee. This may also be referred to a contusion.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Recall an instance of injury. If you bruised your MCL, you will likely be able to recall when your injury occurred. You may remember following, colliding with another athlete or a sudden, twisting of your knee joint.

Take note of the location of your pain. A bruised MCL will cause pain and tenderness along the inside of your knee.

Look for bruising and swelling. A contusion crushes your muscle fibers and connective tissues without causing damage to your skin. Your skin may turn a blue-ish, purple color as the result of blood pooling underneath your skin. Swelling may also occur along the inside of your knee.

Tips

MCL bruises can normally be treated at home. Treat using the RICE method. Rest your affected leg. Apply ice for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, three to four times per day. Apply a compression bandage to your knee to control swelling. Elevate your knee as much as possible for the first 48 hours following injury.

How Is A Fracture Usually Treated

Your healthcare provider will give specific instructions for fracture treatment. The METH method will likely be incorporated into their recommendations:

  • Movement of the injury: Flex and extend what you can, although you might have to keep the injury still to allow it to heal.
  • Elevate: Raise an injured arm or leg above the level of the heart.
  • Traction: This is a technique where the injured individual uses weights and pulleys to pull the bone into alignment. This should only be done under doctor’s supervision.
  • Heat: Apply warm, moist heat to the area. Be sure it’s not too hot.

Try to avoid anti-inflammatory medications like Advil and Aleve if you have a fracture. Anything that stops the inflammatory process, which is the immune system’s healing response, can slow down recovery.

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Your Knee Feels Unstable Or You Felt A Pop

Most ACL tears and patella dislocations occur from a twisting, non-contact injury. A typical story is that you were turning or twisting hard, and you felt a pop. As I mentioned earlier, most patella dislocations will reduce or go back into their usual place on their own. But if your patella remains dislocated the knee will look strange.

If you felt or heard a loud pop as you twisted or turned to avoid another player, then you may have torn your ACL. Other causes of popping include a patella or kneecap dislocation. If you felt or heard a loud pop in your knee, then there is a strong chance that you have a severe knee injury. Most ACL injuries and patella dislocations are non-contact injuries. A running back turning to head upfield. A striker moving laterally to avoid the defense. These are familiar stories when we see high school and college athletes who have torn their ACL.

This post dives further into the immediate management of suspected ACL injuries.

What You Need To Know

Dislocated Kneecap
  • Patella fractures are common injuries. About 1% of all broken bones are broken kneecaps.
  • Fractures of the patella are most often caused by a direct blow to the knee, such as a fall or motor vehicle accident.
  • Kneecap fractures can be simple or complex. Complicated patella fractures, which result in displaced pieces of bone, may require surgery.
  • Rehabilitation focuses on improving range of motion, building up muscle strength and decreasing knee stiffness. Recovery can take several months.

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Can You Still Walk On A Fractured Patella

A patella fracture will often leave you unable to walk. If you think you can, but it is still painful, its probably best not to try until you have been diagnosed. Once you have been diagnosed and treated for a patella fracture, youll be allowed to bear weight in a knee immobilizer, hinged knee brace or cast locked in full extension. Your orthopaedic surgeon will let you know how much you can bend your knee. At first, you wont be allowed to flex your knee, but flexion will be allowed slowly, over time. Youll be allowed to bear as much weight as you feel comfortable.

What Are The Different Types Of Patellar Fractures

Illustration and x-ray show a vertical, stable fracture of the patella.

In this type of fracture the pieces of bone may remain in contact with each other or be separated by just a millimeter or two. In a stable fracture, the bones usually stay in place during healing.

Illustration and x-ray show a front and side view of a two-part fracture across the patella with slight displacement between the broken pieces of bone.

In a displaced fracture, the broken ends of the bone are separated and do not line up correctly. The normally smooth joint surface may have also moved. This type of fracture often requires surgery to put the pieces of bone back together.

A comminuted fracture

In this type of fracture, the bone shatters into three or more pieces. Depending on the specific pattern of the fracture, a comminuted fracture may be either stable or unstable.

Open fracture. In an open fracture, the bone breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin or a wound penetrates down to the bone. An open fracture often involves damage to the surrounding soft tissues and may take a longer time to heal. Open fractures are particularly serious because, once the skin is broken, there is a higher risk for infection in both the wound and the bone. Immediate treatment is required to prevent infection.

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Should You Go To The Emergency Room

Head to an urgent care clinic or an emergency room if:

  • The injury impacts the head or spine
  • The fracture impacts a large bone, like your thigh bone
  • The fracture feels extremely painful due to a large break
  • The bone has punched its way through the skin
  • A limb is obviously misaligned

If these don’t apply, you can likely wait to be examined. Call your healthcare provider’s office to set up an appointment.

A medical professional will use an X-ray to give you a diagnosis.

Causes And Risk Factors Of A Fractured Knee

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Common causes of kneecap fractures include:

  • Direct Trauma: A fractured kneecap commonly results from a fall directly onto the knee, often during a car accident or while playing sports. A fractured knee caused by direct trauma usually results in serious damage to the overlying skin.
  • Eccentric Contraction: A kneecap fracture may happen while your quadriceps muscles are contracting, but your knee joint is straightening. This is medically known as eccentric contraction. The kneecap can be fractured when the muscle pulls forcefully.
  • Pathologic Fracture: This type of knee fracture is the result of a weak bone. Sometimes the kneecap is fractured because of a bone infection, a tumor, or osteoporosis.

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How Is A Fractured Kneecap Treated

Two types of surgery may be done to repair a fractured kneecap:

Open reduction-internal fixation surgery: The surgeon opens the skin and puts the broken bones back together with metal wires, pins or screws. Broken pieces of bone too small to be fixed are removed. If the kneecap is so severely fractured that it cannot be repaired, it may be partially or totally removed.

After the bones have been joined, the opening is closed, a sterile dressing is put over the area and the knee is put in a cast or other device so it cannot move while it heals.

Sometimes, especially in patients who are thin, the wires, pins or screws can be irritating. In this case, the devices will be removed after the kneecap has fully healed.

Full or partial patellectomy: This two-hour procedure removes all or part of the kneecap. If your surgeon finds that the break is too severe to repair, they will remove the damaged pieces of bone.

The surgery preserves the quadriceps tendon above the kneecap, the patellar tendon below and other soft tissues around the kneecap. After this surgery, you will be able to extend your knee, but the extension will be weaker.

Once your kneecap has healed, making the muscles around your knee stronger can help avoid further injury. Playing contact sports or doing other activities that put stress on your knee can increase the risk of another injury to the kneecap. You should avoid these activities or use a kneepad to cushion the blow when playing contact sports.

Importance Of Knee Joint

Knee joint is the largest and most complex of all joints in the body. It is indispensable for walking and running, which are basic human necessities. Though, it appears like a simple hinge joint, just like in a door. But the structural complexity and the sophisticated phenomenon of locking and unlocking, make it an important dynamic support while standing as well as walking.

Picture 1: Knee Joint

Picture 2: Knee Joint Ligaments and Menisci

The lower ends of femur and tibia take part in forming the knee joint along with the knee cap or patella . These bones are maintained in alignment by several restraining ligaments, like anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments , medial and lateral collateral ligaments, and the medial and lateral menisci . Several strong muscles, like quadriceps, and biceps femoris, control the movements of knee joint, and are also responsible for displacement of fractures near the knee joint. Hence, even a small alteration in the bony alignment, after a knee injury, severely affects the balance and gait of a person.

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How To Tell If You Strained Your Knee

This article was co-authored by Jonathan Frank, MD. Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow. Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team. Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 54,812 times.

What Is A Bone Bruise

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Bone bruises are less severe than bone fractures. This happens when the bone gets several small cracks with blood and fluid building among the cracks right under the skin. The most common areas for bone bruising occur are the knee and ankle.

If your child is experiencing severe pain, swollen or tender area near the injury, swollen or stiff joints near the injury or changes in skin color over the injury, it might be bruised.

We recommend that you seek medical attention so we can check the injured area and determine whether the bone is broken or bruised.

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How Is Knee Pain Treated After A Fall

Treatment for a knee injury caused by a fall usually involves rest and if necessary, a brace to stabilize the joint. In most cases, anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen , may be helpful.

Minor knee injuries can often be treated at home. However, its important to see a doctor if symptoms worsen or if the pain is accompanied by:

  • significant joint swelling
  • an inability to bear weight
  • a feeling of giving way
  • other signs of ligament or tendon damage

When the injury is serious, surgery may be necessary to restore function and eliminate pain.

How Do You Massage A Scar Tissue To Break It Down

Use the pads or soft tips of your fingers to massage the scar and tissue around the scar. Massage in all three directions. Circles: Using two fingers make small circles over the length of the scar and the skin surrounding it. Vertical: Using two fingers massage the scar up-and-down.

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Types Of Knee Injuries

The types of knee injuries depend on the location and nature of the knee injury as well as the specific bone injured. Intra-articular knee fractures which involve the portion of bone within the knee joint generally need aggressive treatment and later may lead to premature knee arthritis . Floating knee is a type of broken knee, where lower end of femur and upper end of tibia are both broken and the knee as a whole becomes freely mobile and devoid of support.

Picture 3: Broken Knee on X-ray

  • Femur Fracture of lower end is a major knee injury, which can be undisplaced, comminuted, or intra-articular and is quite difficult to heal.
  • Tibia Fracture of upper end is a major knee injury, which can be undisplaced, displaced, or intra-articular.
  • Broken Knee Cap is one of the most common knee injuries and can be undisplaced, displaced, or compound.
  • BrokenFibula near knee joint is a minor knee injury, but concurrent injury to the peroneal nerve can also occur causing foot drop.
  • Torn Knee Cartilage can be due to meniscal knee injury or injury to the articular cartilage and is generally seen in intra-articular fractures.
  • Torn Knee Ligaments generally indicate less injury to bones, as the traumatic force gets exhausted in tearing the knee ligaments, but are extremely difficult to heal.

What Causes A Patellar Fracture

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Patellar fractures are most often caused by:

  • Falling directly onto the knee
  • Receiving a sharp blow to the knee, such as might occur during a head-on vehicle collision if your kneecap is driven into the dashboard

The patella can also be fractured indirectly. For example, a sudden contraction of the quadriceps muscle in the knee can pull apart the patella.

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Your Knee Is Locked And You Cant Straighten It

If you had a knee injury and you are not able to fully straighten the leg, you might have a locked knee. A locked knee is simply a knee that cannot fully straighten. There are different reasons a locked knee might occur. In some patients, swelling and inflammation can prevent you from fully straightening the knee. In others, a meniscus tear has flipped into the middle of the joint and is causing mechanical locking. You cannot straighten it with the meniscus in that position.

Many athletes who have a locked knee will also find it very painful to bend the knee too. They may feel sharp knee pain when bending which can occur when these bucket handle meniscus tears move.

The most common cause of a locked knee is a unique meniscus tear called a bucket handle tear. A bucket handle tear is considered a serious knee injury and will require surgery to fix or repair the tear. The reason these tears are serious is that a large piece of the meniscus tears flips over and becomes stuck in the middle of the knee joint. You need that meniscus to protect the knee. The vast majority of bucket-handle tears can be repaired. So the sooner we start the treatment process, the better the outcome might be after a meniscus repair.

How Do You Exercise With Patella Fractures

Youll have to keep your joint immobilized first, doing exercises that put little to no weight on your knee.

For conservative treatment, the next steps include improving your knee extension and leg strength with physical therapy.

If you underwent a patellar fracture repair, the exercises will depend on the type of surgery and stage of recovery.

Its best to ask your doctors which exercises you can do with a broken kneecap.

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How To Tell If A Fall Broke Bones Without An X Ray

This article was co-authored by Jonathan Frank, MD. Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow. Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team. Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 160,016 times.

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