Fibula Fractures

The fibula is a long and slender bone at the outer edge of the leg that runs parallel to your tibia or shin bone. It bears only about 14 to 17 percent of a person’s weight because its primary purpose is stabilization of the ankle and support of the lower leg muscles. Nine muscles are attached to it. The top of the fibula is placed near the back of the tibia below the knee, and the bottom of it forms the top of the ankle joint. A fibula fracture ordinarily isn’t as serious as a tibia fracture.

When a fibula is fractured, the fracture is considered to be complete or incomplete. With a complete fracture, the break goes all of the way through the bone. With an incomplete fracture, the break only goes through part of the bone, and the bone stays positioned properly.

Common causes of fibula fractures
Fibula fractures aren’t uncommon. Because it bears so little weight, a person might suffer a fibula fracture and still be able to walk or run. The most common cause of a fibula fracture is direct trauma to the leg between the knee and ankle. A fibula might also be fractured when an ankle is fractured. As a personal injury law firm, we commonly see fibula fractures resulting from:

  • Motor vehicle collisions, especially broadside impacts
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Bicycle crashes
  • Falls
  • Inward ankle twisting from uneven walking surfaces

Common symptoms of fibula fractures
A person who is suffering from a fibula fracture will ordinarily present himself or herself with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Calf pain, particularly on the outside of the calf
  • Knee or ankle pain if the fracture is at the top or bottom of the fibula
  • Deformity under the skin or in the calf
  • Bruising or bleeding near at the location of the fracture
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected leg
  • Sensations of numbness or cold from lack of blood flow

Diagnosing a fractured fibula
Your doctor will want x-rays of the affected leg. If the suspected fracture is at the top or bottom of the fibula, he or she might want CT scan or MRI images too.

Treating a fibula fracture
Treating the fracture might be a simple as the RICE principle, especially if the fracture is at the top of the fibula. That involves rest, ice, compression bandages and elevation of the leg above the heart. Closed reduction of the fracture involves casting the leg to immobilize it. Crutches might be needed to keep weight off of the broken leg. The fracture should heal in about six weeks. Serious fractures might call for surgery and open reduction of the fracture with the use of plates, screws and even rods to hold the bone together.

Rehab and physical therapy
Most people need some type of physical therapy for purposes of strengthening their leg and regaining mobility. A physical therapist will evaluate the patient and formulate a treatment plan. The evaluation might include assessments on range of motion, strength, walking, any scar tissue and pain. Expect walking, stepping and balance exercises, some of which can be done at home.

Most fibula fractures resolve without complications, but some are possible. Those might include:

  • Arthritis
  • Long-term pain
  • Nerve and blood vessel damage near the ankle
  • Chronic ankle swelling

Do you need a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer?

Fibula fractures are often secondary to other injuries. They can take you off of your feet and out of work, especially if surgery is required. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation if you suffered a fibula or any other kind of a leg or ankle fracture as the result of the carelessness and negligence of somebody else in Los Angeles or Southern California. Our objective is to maximize any compensation that you might receive.

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