Rugby Injuries, Rugby Injury
Sports Injuries
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Sprained Ankle
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Metatarsal Fracture
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Knee Injuries
ACL Knee Injury
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Patella Fracture
Hip & Thigh
Hamstring Strain
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Fracture of Thumb
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Rugby Pitch
Patella Fracture & Rugby




Patella Fracture Introduction

The patella or knee cap is one of three bones along with the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) that make up the knee joint. The patella is wrapped up inside a tendon. This tendon connects to the quadriceps muscle of the thigh to the shin bone (tibia) below the knee joint. The patella is a vitally important structure as it increases the leverage of the knee joint. It allows for an increase of 30% in strength when kicking the ball. A healthy patella is important for a fly half or full back.

A Patella fracture or a broken knee cap can occur in rugby with a strong tackle to the knee. The amount of damage done to the knee cap can vary from a single crack to several cracked pieces of the knee cap. In some rare cases a powerful contraction of the quadriceps can also fracture the patella. When this happens the fracture lines will be horizontally across the patella and the player will find it hard to straighten the knee.

Patella Fracture Signs & Symptoms

The player will complain of excruciating pain instantly. The knee cap will also begin to swell up and the player will not be able to bend the knee.

Patella Fracture Treatment

Once a player is suspected of this injury he must be seen by a doctor in accident in emergency immediately. X-rays will be required to confirm the occurrence of a patella fracture.

The treatment option largely depends on the type of patella fracture. If the fracture is small and does not dislocate the knee the player will normally be placed in a plaster cast. The player keeps the cast on for 6-8 weeks. If the player suffered the fracture from a powerful tackle than the fracture will most probably be in several fragments. With this much damage, it will be necessary for surgical intervention using tensioned wires that will restore the knee cap to its original structure.
In some severe cases the injury is so severe the patella may be fragmented in so many pieces that it will not be possible to return the knee cap to its original structure. In such cases it will be necessary to completely remove the knee cap. This will prevent osteoarthritis in the pattelo femmoral joint. After surgery the player will be placed in a plaster cast for 6-8 weeks.

Depending on the type of surgery used the player may be able to use a knee brace after 2-3 weeks after the cast is removed. This will enable the player to regain normal range of movement and strength in the knee joint. Ice packs may also be used to lessen the inflammation and pain in the area.

Providing the player is not in any pain he/she may begin to do static cycling or hydrotherapy pool running after 6 weeks post cast immobilization. Pool running as well as water exercises that involve a buoyancy belt which will enable the player to jog in the swimming pool without touching the floor is an important rehabilitation tool.

After 12 weeks the player may have regained range of movement and strength of the knee, that there is no more pain, the patient may begin using the static cycle after around six weeks. Players prefer to use a knee support after full recovery to provide stability and warmth to the knee.

Patella Fracture Prevention

Rugby players that are involved in heavy tackling may benefit from padded knee supports.

Rugby Rescue Recommends Knee Supports

5 Star Rating


Excellent medial and lateral support ideal for footballers. Multi-tiered, plush-lined elastic body with wraparound design.

Vulkan Patella Strap




The Knee sport strap is designed to simulate knee joint strapping techniques used to support the collateral knee ligaments and restrict joint rotation but still enable running




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