Common among footballers, a broken leg (tibia and fibula fracture) usually occurs as a result of twisting when the foot is fixed, or from a direct kick on the bone from an opponent.
The symptoms of a broken leg (tibia and fibula fracture) are typically fairly apparent. They include:
- Severe pain in the leg that is broken.
- Deformity due to protruding bones.
- Swelling and bruising down the broken leg.
Diagnosis is based upon a physical examination, a description of the mechanism of injury, and an x-ray, and the choice of treatment will be largely dependent on the type of fracture.
While many of these fractures will heal with just a plaster cast to immobilize the injury site, more serious breaks, in which the x-rays show the bone fragments to have separated, the orthopaedic consultant will operate to bring fragments as close together as possible.
A fracture such as this will likely require up to 16 weeks immobilization, followed by rehabilitation to restore the range of motion in the ankle and knee, and to regain muscle strength lost during immobilization.
Avoiding an injury such as this is difficult, but wearing protective shin guards when playing football is one way of reducing the risk.