Knee + Leg

Patella (Kneecap) Pain

Kneecap Fracture

This is a serious injury where you break your kneecap, usually due to a fall. If the broken pieces are still lined up, you'll get an immobilizer brace to hold everything in place as you heal. For a more serious fracture, you typically need surgery. Your doctor may use screws, pins, or wires to hold the pieces of bone in place. In either case, you'll need physical therapy to work through stiffness, get your range of motion back, and build leg strength.

Learn more about kneecap fractures.

Quadriceps/Patellar Tendon Tear

The patellar tendon starts in your thigh muscles, wraps around your kneecap, and connects to the top of your shinbone. If you completely tear the tendon above the kneecap (the quadriceps tendon) or below it (the patellar tendon), you won't be able to straighten your knee. If the tear is small, a brace to keep your leg straight while the tendon heals is all that is needed. Most people need surgery for a large tendon tear. In either case, physical therapy will be needed to regain muscle strength.

Learn more about patellar tendon tears.

Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper's Knee)

Patellar Tendinitis is often called patellar tendinopathy or jumper's knee as it is common with basketball and volleyball players. Start treatment with the RICE method - rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed. You may need to see a physical therapist to help reduce the pain and swelling and show you how to use a patellar tendon strap to relieve pressure on the tendon.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Typically caused by overuse, patellofemoral pain syndrome can lead to pain, stiffness, or buckling. It's common in athletes, especially females and young adults. It will typically go away on it's own using the RICE method - rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed. Your doctor may suggest physical therapy to improve range of motion, build your strength, and teach you correct form if your knee moves in when you squat.

Learn more about patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Chondromalacia Patellae (Anterior Knee Pain)

Damage to the cartilage behind the kneecap is called chondromalacia. You may feel a dull pain around or under your kneecap that gets worse when you go up or down stairs. You may also feel or hear a grinding noise coming from your patella. Start with self-care using the RICE method - rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed. A physical therapist can help with changing how you exercise, stretch, and tape. If these treatments don't work, you may need surgery to remove damaged cartilage and correct your kneecap alignment.

Learn more about anterior knee pain.

Unstable Kneecap

Your kneecap moves through a groove in your thighbone. If that groove is uneven or isn't deep enough, your kneecap can slide out of place. If your kneecap is only partly out of place, a brace may be all that is needed. If it pops totally out, your doctor will first gently push it back into place. In some cases, you might also need surgery to repair damage to your cartilage. If it keeps happening, you may need surgery to tighten the tendons and help keep your kneecap on track.

Learn more about an unstable kneecap.

Prepatellar Bursitis

A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that eases friction between bones and soft tissue. With prepatellar bursitis, the bursa in the front of your knee gets irritated and swells with extra fluid. The pain you're feeling is caused by the extra fluid putting pressure on your knee. If your bursitis was caused by an injury, it will typically go away on it's own with a little self-care. Use the RICE method - rest, ice, gentle compression and elevation. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed. If these treatments don't work, your doctor may take fluid out using a needle. If the bursa is infected, you may need antibiotics. Surgery may be needed if these methods do not relieve the pain or if you have an infection or repeated problems with bursitis.

Learn more about prepatellar bursitis.

Eau Claire Area Locations

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Altoona

Chippewa Valley Orthopedics & Sports Medicine - Chippewa Falls

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Outreach Locations

Cumberland Memorial Hospital

Prevea Rice Lake Health Center

Chippewa Valley Hospital

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital

Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital

Indianhead Medical Center

Black River Memorial Hospital

Krohn Clinic

Diagnostic Radiology Associates