The patella is a sesamoid bone on the front of the knee that articulates along the front of the femur, protects the knee from impact and is part of the tendon of quadriceps muscle which is responsible for straightening the knee, standing and jumping. Bipartite patella is a condition where the cartilaginous centers of growth fail to fuse during development to form a single complete bony patella. It can occur in one or both knees. Bipartite patella is commonly asymptomatic and considered a normal variant. However, in a small percentage of patients, often following trauma, movement of the bipartite fragment can cause pain and limitations.
Initial treatment consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, elevation of the leg, rest and ice to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Wearing a knee brace can also alleviate pain. Physical therapy is also a treatment option. If the condition is painful and does not respond to conservative treatment, surgical excision or repair of the bipartite fragment may be necessary