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Home :: Leg Fracture, Fibula

Leg Fracture, Fibula

A complete or incomplete break in the fibula, the smaller of the two bones of the lower leg. Fractures of the fibula are not uncommon, and displacement is seldom severe. They sometimes accompany severe ankle sprains.


  • Fibula.
  • Soft tissue surrounding the fracture site, including nerves, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels.


Direct blow or indirect stress to the bone. Indirect stress may be caused by twisting, turning quickly or violent muscle contraction.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Severe pain at the fracture site.
  • Swelling of soft tissue surrounding the fracture.
  • Visible deformity if the fracture is complete and bone fragments separate enough to distort normal leg contours.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Numbness or coldness in the foot if the blood supply is impaired.

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose a leg fracture, the doctor will review your injury and symptoms. The doctor will examine your foot to see if vessels or nerves are damaged. The doctor may also examine your knee because some injuries to the foot, ankle, and leg may involve injuries to the knee. The doctor will order x-rays.


Follow your doctor's instructions. Instructions are supplemental.

  • Setting the broken bone for a fibula fracture is usually not necessary. The tibia (the big bone adjacent to the fibula) provides immobilization.
  • Fibula fractures usually require only a snug, toe-to-knee cotton elastic bandage. If pain is severe a walking plaster cast below the knee may be necessary for about 5 weeks.
  • After the bandage or cast is removed, use frequent ice massage. Fill a large Styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a softball. Do this for 15 minutes at a time,3 or 4 times a day.
  • Apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads or heat liniments and ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments,if available.


Your doctor may prescribe:
  • Narcotic, or synthetic narcotic pain relievers for severe pain.
  • Stool softeners to prevent constipation due to inactivity.
  • Acetaminophen (available without prescription) for mild pain after initial treatment.

Home Diet

During recovery, eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity.
Prevention Tips
  • Build adequate muscle strength and achieve good conditioning prior to exercise, athletic practice or competition. Increased muscle mass helps protect bones and underlying tissue.
  • Gently stretch before and after physical activities such as aerobics, running, and sports.
  • To decrease your risk of injury from a car accident, use a seat belt. For children, use a safety seat appropriate for the child's age and weight.
  • Work and play safely.
  • Talk to your doctor about screening for diseases that may weaken bones.

To help take care of yourself, follow the full course of treatment your doctor prescribes. Also, follow these guidelines:

  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Elevate the leg when possible to reduce swelling.
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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.