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The patella, or kneecap, is an essential part of the knee joint and one of the sesamoid bones in the body, meaning it is embedded in tendons. This small bone protects the knee joint, but it is also at higher risk of fracture due to its location. The kneecap can be fractured in many different ways, causing pain and knee dysfunction. Our orthopedic specialists at DOCS Health offer patella fracture treatment at our state-of-the-art Los Angeles medical center.

Types of Patella Fractures

The patella is a small bone that is attached at the top to the quadriceps tendon and at the bottom to the patellar tendon. It is made to slide back and forth over the knee joint when the knee is flexed or extended. A direct blow to the knee is the most common cause of a patella fracture, but it is possible for a fracture to occur from too much force from muscles or tendons on the kneecap. Some of the types of patella fractures include:

  • Communicated fractures of three or more pieces
  • Open fractures – when the bone pierces the skin
  • Displaced fractures where the fractured ends no longer align
  • Transverse fracture where the kneecap is broken in two pieces near the middle of the bone

Patella fractures can occur at the top, bottom or middle of the bone. The entire kneecap can shatter, or just a small fragment can break off. Treatment depends on the type of fracture, location and severity. Communicated and transverse fractures most commonly require surgery. Other fractures may be able to be treated with a splint or cast to immobilize the knee while the patella bone heals.

Symptoms of a patella fracture include pain, swelling and bruising in the front of the knee. It can be difficult to straighten the leg or walk. If you have symptoms of a patella fracture, seek medical attention. For patella fracture treatment in Los Angeles, contact us at DOCS Health.