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A fibula fracture is a relatively common condition that’s characterized by a break in the smaller of the long bones of the lower leg, known as the fibula.
During certain activities, such as landing from a jump, a forceful impact to the outer lower leg or ankle, or when rolling an ankle, stress is placed on the fibula bone. When this stress is traumatic and beyond what the bone can withstand, a break in the fibula may occur.
A fibula fracture is common among the elderly, but can also occur in younger patients. Oftentimes, a fracture to the fibula occurs in combination with a sprained ankle or other fractures of the foot, ankle or lower leg.
A fibula fracture can occur when the joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion. A direct blow to the bone itself can also cause it.
Any form of trauma may cause injury, including:
A thorough subjective and objective examination from an orthopaedist is essential to assist with diagnosis of a fibula fracture. An X-ray is usually required to confirm diagnosis and assess the severity of the fracture. Further testing, such as an MRI, CT scan or bone scan, may be required, in some cases, to assist with diagnosis and assess the severity of the injury.
Treatment first involves ice and elevation of the leg, to reduce pain and inflammation. People with fibula fractures are advised to walk using crutches, too. A brace or walking boot may be given to restrain the injured leg and allow for healing. If it is a displaced fracture, surgery is needed to place a rod, plate, or screws in the bones in order to fix the fracture. After surgery, the leg is protected. Then, following bracing or casting, it is important to complete strengthening and stretching exercises to regain strength and a full range of motion.