Top of the page
The kneecap (patella) is a bone that protects the front of the knee joint. It takes the brunt of any blows to the knee, such as a fall onto the knee or hitting the knee against the dashboard. Symptoms of a broken kneecap (fracture) are swelling and pain, especially when moving the knee back and forth.
Your child may not need surgery if the fracture has not moved the kneecap out of position. But sometimes surgery is needed to move the pieces of the kneecap back where they belong and to repair damage. Whether or not your child has surgery, he or she probably will wear a cast or immobilizer on the leg for several weeks while the kneecap heals. Help your child wear and take care of the cast or immobilizer exactly as the doctor advises. Your child may need help with daily tasks.
Healthy habits can help your child heal. Give your child a variety of healthy foods. And don't smoke around him or her.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter L415 in the search box to learn more about "Broken Kneecap in Children: Care Instructions".
Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.