What is it:
A knee fracture can be a break of any of the bones around the knee, Femur (thigh bone), Patella (kneecap), and Tibia (shin bone)
There are many causes of a fracture around the knee. A very common cause is a car accident. A blow to the knee during almost any contact sport can also result in a fracture. Falls from heights or even sudden indirect forces, such as stumbling down stairs, can cause a fracture.
Patellar fractures account for about 1% of all fractures. They are most common in people who are 20 to 50 years old. Men are twice as likely as women to fracture the kneecap.
Treatment for knee fractures is based on the severity of the fracture and the bone involved. Usually fractures of the femur require some form of surgical stabilization. Mild fractures of the patella can sometimes be treated with immobilization. Displaced patellar fractures, however, require surgery. Finally, tibia fractures are highly variable and need individual assessment prior to developing a treatment plan. Most surgery involves the placement of screws, plates, wires or rods.
Do’s & Don’ts:
Apply a sterile dressing to open wounds. Don’t move the patient unless the injured area is completely immobilized. Don’t attempt to straighten a misshapen bone or joint or to change its position. Don’t test a misshapen bone or joint for loss of function.
Myth 1: Severe intra-articular fractures should be treated in minimal fashion to leave bone stock for later surgery. In tibial plateau fractures, he noted, a common expectation is that the patient will ultimately need a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), so the injury is addressed with a midline incision and double plating. “This is bad thinking that will lead to bad results,” Dr. Ostrum said. In one series of almost 14,000 TKAs, just 0.0045 percent was subsequent to tibial plateau fractures.
Jesse Elliott, DPT, Licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy with Siskiyou PT
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