Fracture & Football
A Patella fracture or a broken knee cap typically
results from a powerful blow delivered directly to the knee.
Such an injury can occur from a powerful football tackle or
The damage involved in a Patella Fracture may
range from a single crack across the knee cap to a stellate
fracture, a condition in which the knee cap is cracked into
Sometimes, even a forceful contraction of the
Quadriceps would be sufficient to fracture the patella. In
this instance, the knee cap will suffer a horizontal crack
across its surface, resulting in the patient’s inability
to straighten the knee.
Signs & Symptoms
Severe pain is instantly felt on the knee area.
The condition will also cause the knee to immediately swell,
which in turn will make it unlikely for the footballer to
bend the injured knee. If the Patella fracture caused a crack
across the knee cap, the player may feel a gap in the knee.
What you can do
Once a patient is suspected of this injury,
he must be immediately transferred to the emergency department.
An x-ray will confirm if there is indeed a fracture.
Once the condition is definitively diagnosed
as a fracture, treatment must immediately follow. The course
of the treatment will be determined by the appearance of the
fracture fragments since the intention of the orthopaedic
consultant is to restore the knee cap to its original state.
If the fracture results in only a small crack
that does not dislocate the knee in anyway, the consultant
typically decides to immobilise the knee joint using a plaster
cast. The cast will stay in place for six weeks.
If the knee received a more powerful blow, the
resulting injury may involve the dislocation of the fragments
in the knee cap. In order to repair such damage, it will be
necessary to have an operation. In this operation, the consultant
can place tensioned wires that will aid in restoring the knee
cap to its original form.
However, the injury may be so tremendous that normal alignment
will no longer be possible. Extreme cases like this may require
the complete removal of the knee cap. This procedure will
protect the patient from the development of osteoarthritis
in the Patello – Femoral joint. Upon removal of the
knee cap, the patient’s leg will be kept in a plaster
for up to six weeks.
The procedures for rehabilitation may differ
since they are largely determined by the technique employed
by the orthopaedic consultant. Some consultants permit their
patients to use a knee brace after only 2 – 3 weeks
of staying in a plaster. The use of the knee brace will allow
the physiotherapist to start helping the patients regain normal
range of movement, as well as develop strength.
The primary aim of Physiotherapy treatment is
to lessen the pain caused by the inflammation of the knee.
The treatment involves the application of ice packs to the
knee every couple of hours, for 20 minutes each time. However,
the patient must be careful since the ice packs can cause
ice burns when placed directly on the skin. When used properly,
the ice packs will help alleviate the pain as well as reduce
bleeding within the tissue.
Reusable ice pack
Provided that there is no more pain, the patient
may begin using the static cycle after around six weeks. From
the 6th – 12th week, the patient may have regained the
range of movement so the intensity of the activity may be
increased. This process must be monitored by a chartered physiotherapist.
Full movement may also be restored through the aid of pool
running as well as water exercises that involve a buoyancy
In order to prevent the start of Patello –
femoral arthritis, it is important for the patients to be
engaged in long-term maintenance of the strength in their
Quadriceps. However, in the case of a Patella Fracture, knee
pain may continue to persist even after the injury has been
healed. To help manage their symptoms of knee pain, many prefer
the use of a knee brace or support since these materials provide
warmth to the knee.
Running in a swimming pool, using a buoyancy
aid, is an ideal method of maintaining fitness while the ligaments
and bone are healing.
here to view buoyancy jackets for water therapy
Patella Fracture Prevention
For people whose activities put them in high
risk of falling on their knees, it may be helpful to cover
their knees with protective padding.
Football Rescue Recommends
5 Star Rating
medial and lateral support ideal for footballers. Multi-tiered,
plush-lined elastic body with wraparound design.
Knee sport strap is designed to simulate knee joint strapping
techniques used to support the collateral knee ligaments and
restrict joint rotation but still enable running