Treatment Options for a Broken Fibula – a Type of Lower Leg Fracture – in Lafayette, LA
A fibula fracture is a crack or break in the smaller of the two lower leg bones. The fibula and tibia (shinbone) join together at the knee and ankle joints to provide support and stability to the ankle and lower leg muscles.
Unlike the tibia, the fibula is a non-weight-bearing bone. However, a forceful impact, such as a hard landing from a jump, or a direct blow to the outer lower leg can cause the fibula to crack or break. Additionally, rolling or spraining the ankle may place excessive stress on the fibula, which can also lead to a fracture.
What are the symptoms of a fractured fibula?
In addition to pain in the lower leg, a fibula fracture can cause:
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the leg
- Swelling or bruising at the injury site
- A break in the skin or an obvious leg deformity (in very severe cases)
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a medical professional right away. A delay in treatment for a lower leg fracture can result in damage to ligaments and other tissues surrounding the break. In Lafayette, Louisiana, you can entrust your fracture care to Peter D. Vizzi, M.D. Dr. Vizzi is an experienced, board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating sports injuries. After evaluating your fracture, he can discuss an appropriate treatment approach.
How is a fibula fracture treated?
Treatment for a lower leg fracture can vary depending on the severity of the damage. Some potentially effective options include:
- PRICE therapy – Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help reduce pain and inflammation as the injury heals.
- Physical therapy – Initially, a non-weight-bearing regimen may be recommended, with walking incorporated gradually as the bone heals (crutches can be used for support, if necessary).
- Splinting – A splint, which can be adjusted to accommodate swelling, may be worn to support and stabilize the leg throughout the rehabilitation period.
- Bracing – A leg brace or walking boot can allow weight bearing during the healing process.
If the bone fragments have shifted out of position or if symptoms of a lower leg fracture do not improve with several weeks of conservative therapy, surgery may be discussed. Additionally, surgery may be considered to address a complex fibula injury that involves the tibia or ankle, or the surrounding muscles or ligaments. For instance, a surgeon may perform an internal fixation procedure to reposition the fractured bone and place plates, screws or wires to hold it in place as it heals. Surgical treatment is usually followed by splinting or casting, with leg motion and weight bearing introduced as the bone heals. Physical therapy can strengthen the leg muscles and restore movement and flexibility.
If you would like to have Dr. Vizzi evaluate your lower leg fracture, contact his office to schedule a consultation in Lafayette, LA, today.