Treatment will depend on how severe the injury is. It can take weeks to months to heal. Medicine will be needed to ease swelling and pain. Other options are:
A mild fracture may be treated with a cast to keep the knee from moving as it heals. A brace, cane, or crutches may be needed after the cast comes off. Exercises will also need to be done to promote strength and movement.
Some people may need surgery if the patella is in pieces. Surgery may use pins and screws to put the pieces back together. Some people may need part or all of the kneecap removed, but this is not common.
Exercises will need to be done after surgery to promote strength and movement.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.
a (Broken Kneecap; Fracture, Patella; Kneecap Fracture; Patellar Fracture)
American Physical Therapy Association http://www.orthopt.org
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org
Jarraya M, Diaz LE, et al. Imaging of patellar fractures. Insights Imaging. 2017 Feb;8(1):49-57.
Patella fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/patella-fracture-emergency-management . Accessed September 23, 2019.
Patellar (kneecap) fractures. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedics website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00523. Updated January 2017. Accessed September 23, 2019.