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St. Louis Patellar Fracture Lawyer

Patellar Fractures and Dislocations

The patella, or knee cap, is a small bone that overlies the knee joint and is primarily injured by direct knee trauma. The most common causes of injury are frontal auto accidents, falls, and hyperextension injuries. Any direct force applied to the front of the knee, particularly when it is partially bent, can result in fracture of the patella. Another common reason for patellar fracture is forceful quadriceps muscle contraction (muscle located in the front thighs), such as during a fall.

Dislocation of the patella typically occurs only in adolescents who still have very stretchy and lax ligaments. It most often occurs with a hyperextension injury, but can be seen with a direct trauma as well.


The most prominent symptom is pain and tenderness over the front of the knee and patella. Swelling may or may not be present and if the patella is dislocated or displaced during the injury, a dip may be felt where the patella normally is located and the individual will be unable to extend their knee. With a significant patellar fracture, you may notice weakness or an inability to extend the knee.

Treatment and Prognosis

Patellar dislocations may be treated in the emergency room with pain medication, such as Valium, and relocation or reduction of the patella. The knee is subsequently immobilized with a knee brace and the individual will be advised to use crutches for a specified time period while the injury heals. You may also be referred to an orthopedic doctor.

If the individual can actively extend the knee without difficulty and the fracture did not disrupt the normal alignment of the bone (meaning it is not displaced), they may be treated non-surgically with a knee brace for an extended time period while the patella heals. They will be instructed to not place any weight on the injured leg initially and over the course of a few weeks weight-bearing will be progressively increased. If the patellar fracture is not aligned properly, the bone was fractured into multiple fragments, or if the individual cannot actively extend their knee, surgical repair with metal wires and/or screws is recommended. Following surgery, the knee will be immobilized in a knee brace and weight-bearing will be slowly increased.

The prognosis for individuals with a patellar fracture or dislocation is generally good. However, in young adolescents with a patellar dislocation, there is an increased likelihood that it will reoccur in the future due to the stretchiness or laxity of the ligaments. In rare instances of a significant fracture, the individual may have persistent difficulty with extending the knee.

Committed to Personal Service

Our St. Louis ligament injury attorneys can help you understand your legal rights after a serious accident. We have the experience and legal resources to effectively help victims seek the compensation they deserve. Call (314) 322-8515 today and we can advise you on the best options and course of actions to take after your injury.

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