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Knee fracture: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

A knee fracture is a serious injury that impacts your ability to bear weight on your leg. Subsequently, you'll find it difficult to walk, which makes it next to impossible to do your job.

If you suspect that you have a fractured kneecap, here are some symptoms to look for:

  • Swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Pain when you attempt to move your knee
  • Difficulty straightening your leg
  • Pain when pressing on the knee
  • Deformed appearance

These symptoms should lead you to your local emergency room for a medical evaluation and treatment. Your doctor will take the following steps to better understand your injury:

  • Physical examination, such as looking at your knee and pinpointing where you're feeling the most pain
  • X-rays
  • CT scan and MRI (typically if other injuries are suspected)

If you're diagnosed with a fractured kneecap, your doctor will immobilize the injury and discuss your treatment options.

While not always necessary, there's a good chance your injury will require surgery. There are two common types:

  • Open reduction internal fixation surgery
  • Partial or full patellectomy

After surgery, your doctor will guide you through the recovery process. As you heal, you'll be referred to a physical therapist that can help you regain range of motion and strengthen your knee and leg.

If you fractured your knee at your place of employment, such as the result of a slip-and-fall accident, report the injury to your employer and keep them up to date on your recovery. You should also learn more about the workers' compensation system, as you may be in a position to receive payments as you recover.

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