Knee Fracture: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

by Administrator 26. January 2017 11:08

Knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body comprising of three major bones femur, tibia and patella (knee cap). Other components include fibula, cartilages, ligaments and tendons. This joint is responsible for the flexible movement, bending and folding of the legs. It is highly prone to muscle tear and bone injuries. A fracture refers to a broken bone in the knee which in most cases is patella, but in severe conditions the other major bones are also affected. Based on the severity of injury they are classified into non-displaced, partial displaced and completely displaced fractures.

Risk factors

  • Knee joints  may degenerate with the age
  • Women going through postmenopausal period have decreased bone mass and are prone to fractures
  • People suffering from Osteoporosis have weaker bones
  • Obese people have a higher risk of knee fracture, because  excess weight puts a lot of pressure on the knees
  • Persons doing excessive exercises or playing high impact sports
  • Climbing a lot of stairs puts strain on the knees and damages the cartilage

Causes

  • A sudden jerk in the joint after falling from a moving vehicle
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • A tear in meniscus
  • Weak bones due to calcium and vitamin deficiency

Symptoms

  • Problem in walking
  • Incapability to straighten the knee
  • Swelling and stiffness around the knee
  • Pain
  • Cracking sounds when knee is bent or straightened
  • Change in knee’s shape.
  • Numbness in the leg below the knee

Diagnosis

  • The doctor  may diagnose the severity of injury by taking an X-Ray or a stress radiograph
  • CT scans may be necessary to completely understand the damage caused by the fracture
  • MRI scans may be required to visualize the soft tissue injuries
  • Arthrocentesis (collecting synovial fluid from a joint capsule) may also be done if the patient has Arthritis, to see blood and fat globules which are the indicators of knee fracture

Treatment

Non-surgical treatment

  • Cast: The doctor may advise the patient to put the fractured knee in a cast in order to restrict its movement and promote healing.
  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers can be prescribed by the doctors to provide relief from pain.
  • Braces/Splint: The use of supportive devices like braces can be suggested by the doctors. After looking at the fracture’s healing speed the immovable braces can be replaced with the flexible ones.
  • Crutches or wheelchair: Doctors may recommend people with knee fractures to use crutches or wheelchair to avoid putting weight on the knee while walking.

Surgical treatment

  • Internal Fixation Surgery: Depending upon the severity of fracture, the doctor may use metal pins and screws to put back the broken bone in place.
  • Knee replacement: In case of unrepairable damage surgeon may remove the patella and replace it with an artificial one.

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