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Injuries to the Lower Body
Injuries to the Lower Leg
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If You Have to Move the Casualty

Injuries to the Lower Leg

The long bones, the knee and the foot are often injured during sports. There are two long bones in the lower leg. The tibia (shinbone) lies very close to the surface and if broken will often pierce the skin, causing an open fracture. The fibula lies behind the tibia. It is more difficult to break this bone and may not obviously affect the ability to walk. The knee is a complex joint vulnerable to fractures of the patella (kneecap), dislocation, strains and cartilage (tissue) injury. It is unusual to break just one bone in the foot - generally, multiple fractures of the small bones in the foot and the toes are caused by crush injuries.

Treating broken long bones

  1. Help the injured person into the most comfortable position - generally, lying down.
  2. Examine the injury carefully to see whether there is an open break. If there is a wound, cover gently with a sterile dressing or clean, non-fluffy material, pad around the broken area and tie gently but firmly into place.
  3. Gently support the injury above and below the site of the break. Place padding such as cushions or blankets around the site of the injury.
  4. If you have been trained to do so, applying traction may help alleviate the pain and any potential damage to the circulation.
  5. Treat for shock and reassure.

Treating a broken leg

A person with a broken leg is most likely to be transported to hospital by ambulance and the treatment in most settings is therefore limited to steady support and help with immobilisation.

Treating knee injuries

In addition to the normal signs and symptoms of bone and soft tissue injuries, there may be an obvious displacement of the kneecap or an inability to bend or straighten the leg.

  1. Help the injured person into the most comfortable position. He will generally need to be transported to hospital by ambulance.
  2. Check the injured area carefully for an open break and treat as appropriate.
  3. Pad around and under the injured area to provide support, gently tying the padding in place if needed.
  4. Treat for shock and reassure the casualty until help arrives.
  5. Do not try to bend the leg because you may cause more damage. Keep it still.

Treating a broken foot

  1. If possible, carefully remove the shoes and socks, tights or stockings as the foot is likely to swell and these items of clothing may damage the circulation.
  2. Cover any wound with a sterile dressing or clean, non-fluffy material.
  3. Raise the foot to reduce swelling and pain and support with a large comfortable pad such as a cushion or blanket.
  4. Wrap the foot in padding. If necessary, this can be held in place with a cover bandage. A cold compress may further alleviate pain and swelling.

Take or send the injured person to hospital.


Do not give anything to eat or drink - the casualty may need a general anaesthetic in hospital.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.