Non-Surgical Treatment for a Kneecap Fracture
Depending on the severity and patterning of the fracture, non-operative treatment is a viable option. For instance, if a stable fracture occurs and it is perfectly aligned, there is no gapping (displacement) between the fractured segments, and you can straighten your knee without difficulty, then you most likely can be treated non-operatively.
Non-surgical treatment is typically carried out with a combination of different techniques, including:
- Immobilization – using splints, casts, standard knee braces, or hinged braces to stabilize the bones (fractured bone ends) as they heal
- Depending on the fracture severity, walking (with the use of the immobilizer) is an option. If not, crutches or walkers can be utilized in a non-weight-bearing fashion
- Ice, elevation, NSAIDs – aid in pain and swelling/inflammation. Additional, stronger pain medication may be prescribed if deemed necessary.
After completing all treatment options, surgical or non-surgical, rehabilitation will need to be utilized. Coming out of your immobilizer (typically 3-6 months), there will be atrophy (breakdown and loss of muscle mass), weakness, stiffness, and a decrease in the overall range of motion due to the time of non-use. Rehab will be instrumental in gaining back these lost qualities.