Complete or partial breakage in the continuity of fibula is called as fibula fracture. Fibula is the bone below the knee along with tibia. Fibula displacement and fibula fracture are the common injuries to the fibula bone. Severe ankle sprains causes fibula fracture. The fibula fracture may occur at any part of the fibula bone. Nearly 15 % of body weight is borne by fibula and the fracture is not severe as other weight bearing fractures.
Causes of Fibula fracture
- Football players are prone to have fibula fracture,
- Falls in children, players, and old ages also causes fibula fracture.
- Most of fibula fractures are not identified easily and some individuals live with fibula fracture with mild pain for long time.
- Some individuals feel pain at fibula even after some months of fibula fracture.
- Patients with fibula fracture can walk with minor discomfort as the fibula bone bears less body weight.
- Orthopedic surgeon should assess the fibula fracture carefully to know the severity of fibula fracture.
- Hairline crack in the fibula or small fracture in fibula is caused because of stress and is called as stress fibula fracture.
- Muscles traction and twisting forces placed on the fibula bone from the surrounding muscles causes stress fibula fracture.
- Fibula fracture may be associated with tibia fracture or ankle fracture.
Signs and symptoms of Fibula fracture
- pain in the injured lower leg
- Tenderness and swelling in the area below knee, near calf muscle,
- Bleeding and bruising at fractured site,
- Difficulty to bear weight on injured leg,
- Visible bone fragments are seen along with damage to skin in case of complete fracture,
- Numbness of lower leg,
- Coldness of the affected leg and distal end of fracture site, as the blood supply is altered.
Treatment of Fibula fracture
Treatment is given on the nature of fracture, and severity of fibula fracture. Elevation of fractured leg is the Initial treatment for fibula fracture, and ice packs are applied to relieve pain and reduce swelling of injured area. Reduce further dislocation of injured bone. Immobilization of affected victim is important.
If the bone is broken, plaster cast is applied to enhance healing of fibula fracture, the duration of cast application is up to 8 weeks. When the fibula fracture is compound, surgery is done to correct the deformity and a rod, plate, or screws are fixed at fibula fracture site as per need. Walking with crutches is suggested during recovery period. A plastic stirrup-type brace, cast, or walking boot is often recommended to treat fibula fracture.
Exercises should be done after the fibula fracture is healed. Exercises such as stretching and strengthening of injured leg, etc are done and exercises should enhance blood supply to the area. Physiotherapy is very helpful in restoring leg function after treating fibula fracture.
RICE principle is used to reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, in case of acute fractures.
- Rest- Adequate rest is needed to correct the deformity, and walk should be assisted with crutches to lessen the weight on injured leg.
- Ice- ice pack is applied every two to three hours of 15 to 20 minutes during the first 72 hours of fibula fracture.
- Compression- Use an ace wrap on the leg. Start at the bottom of the toes and wrap up past the knee.
- Elevation- ankle of fibula injured leg should be elevated above the level of victims heart while sitting or lying down, to enhance venous return to heart from extremity.