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The kneecap (patella) is a bone that protects the front of your knee joint. It takes the brunt of blows to your knee, such as a fall onto a knee or a knee hitting the dashboard. A broken kneecap (fracture) causes swelling and pain, especially when moving the knee back and forth.
You may not need surgery if the fracture has not moved your 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 you have surgery, you probably will wear a cast or brace (immobilizer) on your leg for several weeks while the kneecap heals. Wear and take care of the cast or immobilizer exactly as your doctor advises. You may need help with daily tasks.
You heal best when you take good care of yourself. Eat a variety of healthy foods, and don't smoke.
Follow-up care is a key part of your 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 you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you 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 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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