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Sports Medicine

Broken kneecap?

02/16/2009

Question:

6 weeks ago I sustained and impact injury to my right kneecap (fell on cement floor playing ball hockey), there was pain but I felt it would just be a bruise. I was able to continue playing. I would say it was 3-4 days until I could walk without pain. The area around the knee did swell, and within the last week the swelling finally went down. The only symptons I have now is a sharp pain if I put my knee on the ground, and the kneecap itself seems to have a a triangular indentation in the middle of it. However, I have full range of motion and am able to continue a very active lifestyle that includes hockey without any pain. Did I break my kneecap?

Answer:

The fact you were able to continue playing immediately following this injury makes it unlikely you sustained a fracture through your patella (kneecap). However, X-rays would be necessary to be more certain of this. You may have sustained a contusion to your patella, and/or a traumatic "prepatellar bursitis" (which would cause swelling between the skin overlying the patella and the patella, but not beneath or around the patella). Although it's reassuring you've regained full function, if you're concerned about the indentation in your patella, consider consulting with your physician.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University