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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 surgery is done, your child probably will wear a cast or brace (immobilizer) on the leg for several weeks while the kneecap heals. Help your child wear and take care of the cast or brace exactly as the doctor advises. Your child may need help with daily tasks.
Healthy habits can help your child heal. Provide a variety of healthy foods. And don't smoke around your child.
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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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 advice 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 advice line if:
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Current as of: November 9, 2022
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.
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