Patellar (Knee Cap) Fracture | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Patellar (Knee Cap) Fracture

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What has happened?

  • You have broken your knee cap
  • These are common injuries and most do not require surgery

What should I expect?

  • Your knee will be swollen and sore
  • Initially, you may be unable to put any weight on your injured leg and you should not bend your knee
  • You will likely develop some bruising around the knee, and occasionally this may extend into your calf/foot/ankle - this is normal
  • You will be placed in a knee brace by Emergency Department (ED) staff, with your knee kept straight
  • You will likely remain in the knee brace for 4-6 weeks. However, the brace may be changed to allow some bending of the knee after a few weeks

What should I do?

  • Take regular pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed
  • Do not bend your knee until you are reviewed in the Orthopaedic Clinic
  • Elevating your leg will help with pain and swelling - you can do this by resting your leg on a stool or 1-2 pillows while sitting/lying down
  • Use the crutches provided as these will make it easier to get around

What should I not do?

  • You will not be able to drive with this injury
  • Do not take your leg out of the brace except for showering, and ensure your knee is always kept straight when the brace is off for bathing
  • Avoid exercise and sport
  • Try to reduce or stop smoking as this may delay bone healing

Will I be followed up?

  • Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave the Emergency Department (ED) and you will be contacted about a date and time

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If your injury is not settling or you have other concerns, you should see your GP first - take your ACC form/number with you