Fibula Fracture Treatment | Fibula Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Fibula Healing Time, Recovery, Types and Exercises
A fibula fracture can either be an incomplete of complete break in the two outside bones of the leg which are found between the ankles and the knees. Fibula injuries are common but cases of severe bone displacements are very rare. Most of the fractures on this body part are only characterized as ankle sprains. Fibula injuries can happen in any part of the fibula bone. However, since this bone receives only 17% of the body weight when a person is standing up, the injuries it develop is not as severe compared to other bones that bears a lot of weight.
Fibula Fracture Types
• Type A- fibular fracture situated underneath the joints of the ankle
• Type B- fibular fracture that occurs on the same level of the joint but with the tibiofibular ligaments undamaged
• Type C- fibular fracture that occurs above the level of the joint. This type causes tears and breaks on the neighboring syndesmotic ligaments.
Diagnosis for fibula fractures requires physical examinations and a thorough record of health history of the patient. The health history of the patient is important because it will be the main source that can help the doctor to identify the extent of injury suffered. Regardless of the type and severity of the injury, the patient is required to have a neurovascular exam on his lower extremities and must have highly detailed ligamentous knee exam. In cases when the patient is suspected to have blunt trauma, an overall body checkup is required because blunt traumas usually never happen in isolated bodies only.
The doctor also usually asks for radiographic assessments with specific views of selected parts of the knee. The views usually requested from patients with fibular fractures are the AP, oblique, and lateral views of the knee and the AP, mortise, and lateral view angles of their ankles. Another requirement that the patient must undergo is the lateral and AP angle views of his fibula and tibia shaft. These are needed in order to properly evaluate the whole length of the injured leg. In some cases when instability of the knee is identified, the patient will also be asked for an MRI of his injured area.
The most common causes of fibula fractures are traumas from accidents like falling and repetitive stress. Elderly people are more prone into having this type of injury because of their fragile bones. Runners who constantly push their legs to the limit during training are also common candidates for fibula injuries. In cases when the fibula fracture is caused by repetitive application of stress, the injury is called as a ‘stress fracture’.
Fibula Fracture Symptoms
• Moderate to extreme pain on the injured leg
• Feeling of tenderness and noticeable swelling on the leg specifically on the calf part
• Bruises and bleeding on the injured area
• Extreme pain on the injured leg when weight is put on it
• Noticeable deformity of the leg. This happens it if the fibular fracture is a complete type, with the bone fragments destroyed giving an appearance of a distortedly shaped leg.
• Feeling of coldness or numbness from the leg beyond the site injured. This is the cause of the disturbed blood supply caused by the blockage of fractured bones.
Fibula Fracture Treatment
The preliminary treatment for fibula fractures involve non operative measures like the use of ice packs or leg elevation techniques to temporarily relieve the pain and swelling of the injured area. For semi-serious injuries wherein certain ligaments have been destroyed, the patient is prescribed to use crutches, casts, stirrup-type braces or walking boots until they recover. These tools are used to make sure that the broken bones will mend on their right places.
Only the severe cases when the fibula bones are fragmented into small pieces require surgery. In surgeries, plates, rods, or screws are implanted in the body to keep the small pieces of fractured bones together. In treating fibula fractures, whether there was a surgery or not, immobilization therapies are required to improve the injured area. Immobilization techniques include stretching, and strengthening exercises to make sure that the injured joints are still tended despite being kept on slings or casts.
Individuals who have developed fibula fractures out of repeated stressful activities should take it easy on performing straining activities again. Athletes who are constantly training should keep this in mind. If possible, taking a few weeks of rest should be done to make sure that the fibula stress fractures could mend.
When to Call a Doctor
An individual experiencing pain after receiving blows on the legs and ankles should immediately consult a doctor. Others who are constantly engaging in stressful leg activities and feel pain on their legs should also go for a check-up because the sores can be the early signs of stress fractures.