Leg Fracture Treatment | Leg Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Leg Healing Time, Symptoms, Types, Causes and Recovery
A leg fracture simply means a fracture or a break on any of the bones in the leg. The fracture can be the result of an accident, a fall, or a direct blow. The human leg is composed of 4 major bones that are connected by three joints. These joints are the ankle, knee, and the hip; while the 4 major bones are the femur, the tibia, fibula and the patella.
Types of Leg Fracture
Because the leg is composed of many bones, there can be many types of leg fractures as well.
• Fracture in the femur. The femur is also called the thigh bone and it is the longest and strongest among all bones in the leg. However, this can break due to hard impact and falls. A broken hip is always associated with the fracture on the upper part of the femur.
• Fracture in the tibia. This is the lower end part of the femur that is joining the knee joint. With severe fracture, the tibia can swing backward, frontward or can even slightly rotate. A direct blow to this bone, accident and fall can literally break the tibia.
• Fracture in the fibula. This bone runs alongside the shinbone or the tibia. Usually severe sprain in the ankle can also result in the fracture of the fibula because the major muscles that are attached to the ankle are also attached to the fibula.
• Fracture in the patella. This bone is also known as the kneecap. It can be broken due to hard-impact falls, a direct trauma to the knee or any accident that can damage the bony surface of the cap or dislocate it from its joints.
Usually the doctor will conduct a physical examination and will search for signs of leg fracture. The doctor may recommend x-rays for immediate identification of the breakage. While the x-rays is going on, the doctor will also search for symptoms of nerve or artery damage by touching below the injury, feeling the pulses of the leg and conduct tension strength. Whenever the doctor suspects that there are other medical conditions involved that is causing the weakening of the bone, he may request for other laboratory test.
Bones in the legs are quite thick as compared to other bones in our body so they are stronger and sturdier. However, stronger force can also break them especially if the bones are already weakened due to diseases, stress or fatigue. Here are some of the causes of leg fracture:
• Due to trauma. When there is a powerful and sudden force applied to the bone such as what happens during motorcycle, car, and skiing accidents or falls, the bones can literally break with a snap.
• Other debilitating diseases can also weakened the composition of the bones and make it very vulnerable to fracture. Cancer, bone cysts, osteoporosis or bone tumors are examples of these bone diseases.
• Repetitive overuse and abuse of the leg which render the bone to become stressed and fragile and develop stress fracture and hairline fracture.
Leg Fracture Symptoms
The major symptoms we can identify with leg fracture are pain in the injured area, deformity, and swelling. To confirm fractured leg symptoms, an x-ray would be needed. Here are the other symptoms that indicate leg stress fracture:
• Pain in the broken area would be very severe and the movement of the leg will increase the pain.
• In some cases, the broken leg will appear shorter than the uninjured leg and the injured leg will obviously be deformed.
• There could be leg bleeding, numbness, tingling sensation, weak leg and difficulty in moving the leg.
• The person will be unable to move his leg so he cannot walk or even just limp while using his broken leg.
Leg Fracture Treatment
As first aid treatment you have to immobilize the leg of the person by making the person rest and do not try to move the leg as you wait for the medical people to arrive. If the person can move, make him still so that he will not aggravate the injury. An ice pack would be most appropriate to decrease the swelling. For severe leg fracture, most likely an operation will be done to fix the broken bones and realign the bone back into place. This method is called bone “reduction”. General anesthesia will be given to the patient before the surgery.
The orthopedic doctor will also determine what would be the best procedure for the bone to get fixed. He could recommend a plaster splint or cast to immobilize the bone or if there are shattered bones he will need to operate on the person and open up his broken leg. He may need screws, pins and metal wires to hold the bones together. Femur fractures and tibia fractures are usually corrected with the use of a metal rod that is placed through the center of the bones. Therapy and pain relievers will further support the patient in his recuperation and rehabilitation. The leg fracture recovery make take a couple of months.
To be cautious with what you do can be your best preventive measures to avoid leg injury. When you go out for a drive, always use your seat belt. When participating in any active sport, make sure you use protective gears for all your exposed bony areas. If you are already unstable with your walking better use a walker or a cane and people who have weaker bones must consult their doctors what supplements they could take as supportive measures in strengthening their bones.
When to Call a Doctor
If you see that there is an area in the legs that is swollen, deformed, bleeding or twisted after the person encountered an accident, call the doctor at once or call the emergency hotline. Especially when a bony part is already protruding from the skin, this calls for an immediate rush of the person to the hospital.