I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Patella Fracture Lawyer. The knees are complicated joints that have a number of different working parts that must function in unison to maintain proper use for the patient. One of these parts, the patella is commonly injured in numerous accidents, leading to complicated injuries. Those who have fractured their patella must keep some important pieces of information in mind.What is a Patella Fracture?
The patella is also called the kneecap and exists to protect and cover the ligaments, tendons, and bones that come together to make the knee. The kneecap is a bony structure that has the potential to be fractured just like any other bone. A fracture in the patella can range in severity from a small hairline fracture to a large, compound fracture that could present numerous problems for the patient. An individual with a patella fracture will not be able to move their knee or bear weight on that extremity without a significant amount of pain. Patients could also have associated fractures in the femur, tibia, or fibula with a patella fracture.How a Patella Fracture Develops
A patella fracture is a relatively common bone fracture that could be severe. There are many different ways that someone could fracture their patella. One of the most common ways is through direct trauma while playing sports. Contact sports, such as football, have a higher risk of leading to a patella fracture despite the padding and protection that players wear. A patella fracture could also result from a non-contact injury, such as in a twisting or planting motion while walking, running, or skiing. It is also possible that a patient could fracture their patella in an auto accident. If a patient suffers a dashboard knee injury, a patella fracture could develop in combination with a posterior knee dislocation. This would be a particularly severe injury that would require emergent medical attention.Diagnosing an Injury of the Patella
When there is suspicion for someone developing a patella fracture (or other associated injury), there are several steps that the physician will go through. The attending doctor will take a look at the patient's knee and ask about the trauma that had occurred and the mechanism of the injury. Detailed notes will be taken on the symptoms, such as swelling, pain, loss of sensation, or an inability to bear weight on the affected knee. After this, the patient may be asked to perform some physical exam maneuvers with the help of the physician that will test whether or not the patient has lost any range of motion. This would be indicative of a fracture. The definitive test will be imaging scans. An x-ray is quick and cheap. This will typically be performed first. Multiple views will be taken (such as from the front and from the side) to ensure that a fracture is not missed. A more detailed scan, such as an MRI, might be performed if there is concern for damage to any of the associated nerves or blood vessels. This is a longer scan but does not require any radiation.Treatment Options for a Patella Fracture
After someone has been diagnosed with a patella fracture, there are several facets to the treatment plan that are going to be addressed. Pain is often the first piece of the puzzle that must be solved. Some patients with severe breaks will require narcotic pain medication to take away their symptoms while other patients could only require anti-inflammatory medications. Once this has been controlled, the patient's knee will need to be immobilized to ensure that no further damage is caused by movement. After this, the physicians will review the results of the imaging scans to see whether or not the injury can be repaired without surgery. If so, the patient could be placed in a cast and given crutches or a wheelchair to use for several weeks, giving the bones time to heal. Many patients will require surgery to repair their patella fracture. In this case, the surgeon will explain the risks and the benefits of the procedure. Depending on the fracture, there are many different surgical approaches that might be taken. A decision to proceed with surgery will only be undertaken with the consent of the patient after a detailed discussion.Complications can Develop
When someone has injured their patella, there are a handful of complications that could develop that every patient should remain alert for. First of all, there are many different peripheral nerves, such as the femoral nerve, that travel through the leg. A piece of the bone could break off from the fracture site and damage this nerve. Next, the most common structures that run through this area that might be injured are the ligaments of the knee. This includes the ACL, MCL, LCL, and PCL. If any of these ligaments are torn, this takes the injury to a new level that can seriously alter the prognosis. Finally, every patient should be aware that infection is a possibility with any fracture that everyone should remain alert for. If you have suffered a Patella fracture due to the negligence of someone else, contact a Sacramento personal injury lawyer today.
Contact an Experienced Sacramento Patella Fracture Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Patella Fracture Lawyer. Knee injuries are common and severe; however, patella fractures can be particularly difficult. Any individual who has suffered a patella fracture may reach out to me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly and no-obligation advice. My toll-free line is available to clients and visitors who are not from Sacramento, at (800) 404-5400.
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Top Image Attribution: used with permission from the CC BY SA License, version 3.0. Via Wikimedia Commons.
Final Image Attribution: Photograph of Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer, Edward A. Smith
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