How to recover after a knee fracture

Knees are fascinating structures

We bet that you don’t know everything about your knees. If you had a knee fracture, like broken kneecap and now you are in front of recovery then you should know that your knee is way more interesting part of your body that you have imagined. We are ready to surprise you with some fun facts about your knees. Check them out:

  • The tibia, the patella, the femur, and the fibula are 4 big parts of the knee. Those 4 bones are the main structure. For those of you who have a slight idea how bones work, you know that bones are useless without joints between them. That’s why between bones in the knee, there are joints;
  • The knee can is also rich of ligaments – 7 intracapsular and 7 extracapsular;
  • The structure of the knee is so complex because it is responsible for activities like walking and running. When you are going downstairs, your knees are wearing the whole weight of your body and they are fine with it. Not only that, but your knees are capable of lifting weight 5 times more than human’s weight. Amazing, right?
  • Babies don’t have ossified kneecaps. Until they reach 6 years their kneecaps are not enough hard;
  • There are more than 10 muscles that are responsible for knee functioning. Imagine what is the chance to stretch at least one;
  • Like everything in our body, knees are not independent. They are part of a complex structure, which includes ankles and hips. Thanks to that structure, we are able to stay tall. Balance can be ruined, if one of these 3, don’t function properly;
  • If you lift too much weight, you can’t jump. Elephants, for example, can’t jump because their weight is far more than their joints can handle;
  • Kneecap has unique bone structure – the sesamoid bone. The sesamoid bone is covered with muscle and tendon.

As you may notice, your knees are complex and unique structure. If you or perhaps your child have had an incident and get a knee fracture then the recovery is something that you should pay attention to. Otherwise, you might get permanent damage and not properly functioning kneecaps.

knee fracture

What is the recovery after a knee fracture?

Knee fracture might be a minor when a patient has to stop some activities for a few weeks. In this case, the patella, this is the bone over the joint, is not broken. Sometimes, people manage to stretch some ligaments and damage slightly the kneecap without breaking it. Your doctor might recommend you to wear a removable brace. It is not as scary as it sounds and it is somewhat stylish, too. The brace will limit the movement of your knee and will support it.

What to do right after the knee fracture?

Like most other injuries and fractures, ice is the saviour. Apply ice package on top of the knee every 20 minutes. The second day you might reduce it to once every 2-3 hours. Call your doctor and ask him to prescribe you some painkillers. They will reduce the pain and the swelling. Have in mind, that if you have a high blood pressure or other health problems you should tell your doctor before asking him to prescribe you painkillers. Another thing you can do for your knees is to sit and raise your legs higher than your torso.

Should I limit my activities?

Yes, you have to slow down and try not to push too hard your knee. A removable brace will help you that so you don’t have to worry. Placing a weight on your leg is forbidden so you don’t have to step on it at all (your body is a weight, too). If you have to walk around, you may use a cane or crutches. First exercises that are allowed, during knee fracture recovery, are ankle range-of-motion and straight-leg rising. Next are the exercises for muscle strength and knee-range exercises.

When can I go back to work?

Depends on your job and the pressure on your knees. If you are a climber, you will have to wait a lot, at least 3 months. If you are working on a desk, you might go back in a week. Of course, if you go back earlier, you have to be extremely patient with your knee and don’t rush your movements. Squatting should be left for later when your knees are healthy enough.

When can I start to work out again?

If your knee had a fracture, the best thing you can do is to wait. If you are too impatient it might worsen and you will have to undergo a surgery to repair what you have broken. First 2 months, you shouldn’t work out at all. After that, you may start swimming or simply walking. We are not talking about walking 10 kilometers every day but a walk in the park sounds about right. After 6 months, you may work out normally but if you feel pain, you have to stop immediately.

What should I do if I have a wound?

Take care for your wound as every other. Rinse it with water daily to remove dirt and particles. If you have stitches wait for your doctor to remove them, and the place to heal before starting to work out.

Calling your doctor should be a routine until your kneecap is fully recovered. However, if you start to experience a severe pain or see a significant swelling, you have to call your doc immediately. The skin color is also important, so pay attention if it is going to change. If you notice even the slightest change on your knee or below, call your doc. If you have a wound and notice an infection. As every other infection, you will have a fever and you will see redness on the wound.