About Patella Fractures

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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What is a Patella Fracture?

The patella or kneecap is a small bone that protects the knee and connects the large thigh muscles to the tibia or shin bone. A patella fracture is an impact injury that breaks the patella into two or more parts.

Different types of patella fractures are:

  • Stable nondisplaced fracture. Fractured bone pieces remain very close.
  • Displaced fracture. Fractured bone pieces separate and do not line up properly.
  • Comminuted fracture. The patella is shattered into three or more pieces.
  • Open fracture. The patella breaks and sticks out of the skin.

Common Causes:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty straightening the knee
  • Difficulty standing or walking

A patella fracture is a serious injury that should be seen by an Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) specialist as soon as possible. Delaying a diagnosis and treatment can make the injury and symptoms worse. To make a diagnosis, an OPA specialist obtains a medical history review and perform a physical examination. Multiple X-rays show fracture type and severity. A customized treatment plan is prescribed to decrease symptoms and heal the fracture.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat most stable nondisplaced fractures. Immobilization is a knee brace gives the bone time to heal. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and rest and ice decrease inflammation, pain, and swelling. Most fractures heal within 6-8 weeks.

Surgery may be recommended to treat some patella fractures. During an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) procedure, an OPA specialist reduces the fracture and fixates it with screws and flexible wires. A brace is worn after surgery while the bone heals.

At OPA, our Board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating patella fractures.

If you injure your patella you should schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Anchorage and Wasilla as soon as possible.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.
Anchorage: (907) 562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Knee Team

(click a provider to view profile)

Deryk Anderson, DO

Orthopedic Specialist

Tucker Drury, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Adam Ellison, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Robert Hall, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Christopher Manion, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Jeff Moore, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Eli Powell, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Michael Reyes, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Greg Schweiger, MD

Orthopedic Specialist

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.


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