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Dr. Allan Mishra | Knee Pain Diagnosis



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Definition A knee fracture can be a break of any of the bones around the knee--Femur (thigh bone), Patella (kneecap), Tibia (shin bone)

Model and X-ray of a Normal Knee
Details The femur, patella and tibia are the main bones around the knee. The femur is connected to the patella by the quadriceps tendon and the patella is connected to the tibia by the patellar tendon. Either of these important tendons can also be injured when a bone is broken.

Normal Knee Picture
Causes 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.
Diagnosis The diagnosis of a knee fracture is made initially by a history of an acute injury to the area. On physical examination, there will be moderate to severe swelling and usually an inability to bear weight on the affected leg. X-rays will usually confirm the fracture but sometimes a MRI (Magnetic Resonance Image) or CT (Computed Tomography) scan may be needed to further assess the damage.
Treatment 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.

X-ray of Lateral Tibial Plateau Fracture with Screw Fixation

X-ray of Proximal Tibia Fracture with External Fixation

Prevention of knee fractures requires excellent strength and stability of the joint. Agility and flexibility may also help athletes avoid these broken bones. Usually, however, a knee fracture is the result of an unfortunate sports related collision or accident that was hard to avoid.