If more pressure is put on a bone than its stability allows, it will break in one or more places. In the case of the lower leg, the shin bone or calf bone (fibula) can break. A fracture causes severe pain and swelling, and sometimes a misalignment is visible. For such injuries, the lower leg must be splinted, immobilised and cooled, and a doctor must be consulted immediately.
- Pain, swelling and bruising (haematoma)
- Limited movement of the lower leg
- Misalignment or abnormal position of the bone (e.g. twisted, torsioned, shortened)
- Injury to neighbouring structures
- Blood vessels: heavy bleeding
- Nerves: sensory disturbances, paralysis (typical: foot can't be raised)
- Risk of infection if open fracture
Causes and treatment
- Receiving a blow, falling, twisting (accident)
- Pathologic fracture: bone weakened by osteoporosis can break during normal everyday activities
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- CT scan (computed tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Immobilisation (e.g. plaster cast or splint)
- Operation (e.g. plates attached with screws to hold the broken bones together)
What can I do myself?
- Try to move the fractured area as little as possible, stabilise and immobilise the injured leg
- Cushion the updrawn or bent leg
- Exercises after the operation/application or removal of the plaster cast
Get a personal Preventive Care Recommendation now.
When to see a doctor?
- Severe pain
- Severe swelling
- Big bruise (haematoma)
- If bones are abnormally positioned or abnormally mobile
- Injuries with open wounds, parts of the bone may be visible