Knee fractures have different shapes and degrees according to the severity of the fracture in the bones. The symptoms of the fracture are apparent. When you suffer a knee fracture, you will feel severe pain and difficulty in movement.
Knee fractures often occur after a traumatic accident, especially a motorcycle accident or a fall from an extended height, but some factors can weaken your knee bones and make them susceptible to fractures even with minimal trauma.
The knee joint consists of 3 bones: the shin bone, the thigh, and the patella. Fractures may occur in one or all of these bones at the same time. Learn about knee fractures, their types, and how to treat them appropriately.
An overview of knee fractures
Although the patellar fracture is the most common of knee fractures, it accounts for only 1% of all bone fractures in the body, making it somewhat uncommon.
The kneecap is a round bone located in the front of the joint. It is surrounded by ligaments and tendons that connect the muscles and bones, secure a suitable range of motion for the knee joint, and protect it from injuries.
Knee fractures may, in some cases, be associated with damage to the ligaments or tendons surrounding the bone as a result of the fragments of the broken bone and its impact on other parts of the joint, so the fractures were divided into degrees and types according to the severity of the injury and the degree of joint damage.
As for how to treat fractures, it depends on the type and severity of the fracture. Treatment may be simple in minor injuries, and the need for surgery may appear in more complex injuries.
Symptoms of knee fractures
The fracture of the knee joint tends to reveal itself directly, as the signs appear clearly on the injured person after an accident or injury, and the fastest thing he feels is severe knee pain in addition to other symptoms, including:
- Swelling and bruising around the knee, even with a minor fracture
- Inability to move the knee, especially when trying to bend or extend
- Difficulty walking or standing due to increased pain when weight is applied to the joint
- Deformation in the external shape of the knee, especially with severe fractures
- The protrusion of the bone outside the skin in the case of an open fracture of the kneecap bone
- Hearing a sound like cracking bones
If you notice the appearance of one of these symptoms after you have been injured at the level of your knee, consult the doctor directly. In most cases, the fracture symptoms do not take long to appear after the traumatic accident.
forms of knee fractures
As we mentioned earlier, knee joint fracture was divided into several types and forms according to the severity of the injury. This classification helps choose the appropriate treatment method and determine the person’s need for surgery.
4 main types of fractures occur at the level of the knee joint, namely:
Closed knee fractures
In closed fractures, the skin over the fracture site is intact, meaning that the broken bone did not protrude through the skin's outer surface, and the injury wound did not damage the skin in that area.
This fracture is easier to treat and is often not associated with severe complications.
Open knee fractures
In this pattern, the skin is damaged over the fracture site due to the fragments of the broken bone flying out and sticking out through the skin or because the injury was severe and led to a tear in the skin.
This type is more complex than a closed fracture, and its treatment is more complicated, usually causes damage to the tissues around the bone, and takes longer to heal.
Types of knee fractures
The term “shape” refers to what the person or the doctor can see visually, while the types are not visible but need radiographs to identify them. Among the types of knee joint fractures are the following:
Stable knee fracture
When the broken bone does not move out of its normal position, it is called a stable fracture, meaning that the bone was broken but remained in the same place without moving, which is a good sign.
Unstable knee fracture
In this form, the broken bone moves out of its normal position so that the two ends of the connected bone separate from each other. This fracture requires surgery to connect the two ends and restore the bone to its previous shape.
Comminuted knee fractures
When the bone is shattered and fragmented into three pieces or more, it is known as a comminuted fracture, but if the bone pieces are limited to two parts, it is known as a non-comminuted fracture. There is also another type known as a hair fracture, which is just superficial damage in the bone often seen in runners, and it is rare and difficult to diagnose.
Diagnosis of knee fractures
After examining the symptoms and hearing the patient’s story, and the orthopedist suspects that there is a bone fracture, the following steps and tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis:
Examination of the knee and looking for signs of fracture is an essential step in the diagnosis, as the presence of bruises and swelling supports the possibility of a bone fracture, in addition to the examiner palpating and trying to move the knee joint to investigate the presence of pain or difficulty in movement.
The x-ray helps to see the high-density tissues in the body, such as bones, and by using this image, a fracture is detected, and this test determines the type and severity of this fracture.
The role of imaging techniques is not limited to detecting bone injuries and fractures but is also used to deny the presence of other damages, such as: Meniscus tear.
How to treat knee fractures
There are many ways to treat different knee fractures, as choosing the appropriate method depends on the type and severity of the fracture. It is not always necessary to resort to surgery to manage fracture injuries.
Non-surgical treatment of knee fractures
In mild cases of stable fractures, the use of knee brace To stabilize the joint and prevent its movement to facilitate and accelerate the bone healing process, knee pain can also be relieved by using pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or applying ice to the fracture site.
And do not forget the critical role of rest and avoiding putting your body weight on your knees. Your doctor will tell you how long you need to stay in bed before you can go back to walking again. You may need a rest period of 4 to 6 weeks. This period may be longer or shorter depending on the severity of the knee fracture. It may be helpful to use crutches during this period. Period.
And Physiotherapy plays a major role in rehabilitation and restoring strength and independence after recovering from fractures.
Surgical treatment of knee fractures
When fragments and bone parts from the fracture site fly out of place, the bone loses its natural shape, and weakness and difficulty in healing the fracture as required occurs. In this case, the person needs to perform surgery to reconnect the bone pieces together, allowing the fracture to heal well.
The surgical methods are usually performed using screws or wires to connect and fix the ends of the bones together, in addition to removing small flying fragments from the bone.
The surgeon tries to preserve the bone tissue as much as possible by not removing large sections of the bone unless needed, and in the event of patellar ligament damage surrounding the fracture, the doctor also repairs this damage; read more about Knee joint replacement surgery.
Recovery after knee fractures
The recovery period is not the same for all patients, as it differs from one person to another according to the type of injury, its severity, the general health of the patient, and his age. However, it was estimated on average from 3 to 6 months in fractures of moderate severity, and it may be longer in severe cases of fractures.
During this time, the person is prevented from physical activities that put pressure on the knee. He undergoes physical therapy to improve and restore muscle strength and accelerate healing and recovery.
The doctor may give you some tips to speed up the healing of fractures, including Getting enough amounts of Vitamin D Through exposure to sunlight or taking nutritional supplements, avoid smoking as it slows bone healing.
Recently, a new method has emerged to accelerate cell regeneration and treat knee diseases through Platelet-Rich Plasma for the Knee It is still being studied, but it has proven effective in treating many knee problems, such as stiffness and arthritis.
Another new way of treatment Turkey has provided lately is Acceleration of bone healing by electrical stimulation Which enables the patient to return to his normal life and recover from fractures faster than usual.
Risk factors for knee fracture
There is no doubt that weak, low-density bones are more prone to fractures than strong, healthy bones. Factors that make bones fragile and prone to fracture include:
- Older age, the knee bones of the elderly are weaker than those of the young
- Smoking and alcohol
- Previous injury to the knee joint
The risk of a knee fracture increases in people who practice sports requiring solid physical contacts, such as football or basketball. Finally, knee fractures may be somewhat rare but require special care and long-term recovery. A knee fracture may be associated with tissue damage. Surrounding fractures such as tendons and ligaments, it was necessary to divide the fracture into many types and shapes to determine the appropriate treatment steps.