Fibula fracture is common in adults and athletes and occurs due to trauma of the legs. Read this article that discusses various facets related to fibula fracture.
What is a fibula fracture?
Ankle joints are made up of three bones called malleoli, tibia and fibula. Tibia is the main bone of the lower leg, while fibula is the smaller bone which runs parallel to tibia. As fibula and tibia are parallel to each other, any accident or injury to tibia will automatically break fibula. Rarely, fibula fracture may occur without any tibia fracture.
A fibula fracture is common among the adults, but can also occur in the younger patient. Often a fracture to the fibula occurs in combination with a sprained ankle or other fractures of the foot, ankle or lower leg.
Fibula fracture symptoms
A fibula fracture can lead to pain and tenderness over any part of the fibula–from the base of the outside of the knee to the outside of the ankle–depending upon where the fracture is. When other bones and ligaments are injured, pain and tenderness can be in proximity to those injured structures.
Patients with a fibula fracture may also experience swelling, bruising and pain on firmly touching the affected region of bone. Pain may also increase during certain movements of the foot, ankle or knee or when standing or walking (particularly up hills or on uneven surfaces). In severe fibula fractures (with bony displacement), an obvious deformity may be noticeable.
Fibula fracture causes
A fibula fracture commonly occurs in association with a rolled ankle particularly with significant weight bearing forces. They may also occur due to an awkward landing from a jump (particularly on uneven surfaces), due to a fall or following a direct blow to the outer lower leg or ankle. Fibula fractures are common in running and jumping sports involving change of direction such as football, soccer, rugby, basketball and volleyball.
Fibula fracture diagnosis
The doctors examine the injured leg for fibula fracture and also check the leg for any type of injury, swelling, deformity, abrasions, bruising and tenderness. Since blood vessels and nerves along the length of the bone can be damaged due to broken bones, the doctor may feel the pulses in that area to examine the damage. The medical expert will also examine your response to touch or pressing the injured area. If there is some damage to the bones, even a slight touch may cause pain. From simplest X-ray tests to Doppler studies method, medical expert may use various methods to confirm the place and severity of the broken bones.
Healing time for fibula fracture
The fibula fracture healing time is generally for few weeks and is relatively easier to heal fibula fractures. In cases of extreme damage to the legs that results in fracture of tibia and fibula or in cases of deep ankle fractures, fibula fracture surgery is the last option.
Fibula fracture treatment
Fibula fracture that happens without the breaking of tibia can be treated at home after some guidance of a medical expert. Almost all cases of fibular fracture can be treated at home and there is no need of hospitalization. The doctor will guide the patient to rest the injured part and apply cold pack therapy to the injured area. Simple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) that we normally take in minor fractures can be taken on the recommendation of the doctor.
If the ankle is stable, surgery will probably not be required. Some doctors will allow the patient to put weight on the ankle; others will suggest waiting six weeks. A short cast or a high-top shoe should be used to protect the fracture. X-rays may be taken as the ankle heals to ensure that the fragments of the fracture do not become misaligned while healing. If the ankle is unstable, surgery might be necessary. To stabilize the ankle and to realign bone fragments, surgeons insert screws and a plate beside the bone or insert a rod inside of the bone.
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