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A to Z: Fracture, Patella (Kneecap)

A fractured patella is a broken kneecap (the flat, round bone that protects the knee joint).

More to Know

Patella fractures usually are the result of a hard blow to the kneecap, most commonly during sports, rough play, or auto collisions.

Doctors treat patella fractures at first with a splint or knee immobilizer (brace). These are like a cast and give support to the knee, but are soft part of the way around the leg to allow room for swelling. After a few days, when the swelling goes down, the splint may be changed to a full cast. The cast is usually removed after 4–6 weeks. Some fractures that do not heal well on their own may require surgery to bring the broken pieces of bone together.

Keep in Mind

A fractured patella can be painful. In most cases, the person will wear a splint and then a cast for several weeks. Proper care can help decrease the pain while the injury is healing.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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