Why is it difficult to walk with a fractured fibula?


Quick Answer

It is difficult to walk unassisted with a fractured fibula. A person with this type of break often is unable to put weight on the injured leg, according to UK Healthcare. Typically, a patient with a fractured fibula must use crutches to walk during the healing process.

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Full Answer

The lower leg has two bones: the fibula and the tibia, states Scott & White Healthcare. The fibula is significantly smaller, supporting only about 17 percent of body weight. Although its comparatively small size makes it more susceptible to breaks, fractured bone pieces seldom shift position, so the injury is not usually serious.

Symptoms of a fractured fibula include pain, swelling, tenderness, bleeding or bruising in the leg, UK Healthcare explains. The leg is unable to bear weight. If the broken bone moves out of alignment, the leg often appears misshapen. Circulation problems sometimes cause the leg or its foot to feel cold or numb.

The first stage of treatment for a fractured fibula is ice, elevation of the leg and pain medication, UK Healthcare describes. A cast, walking boot or plastic brace keeps the inured leg in proper position during healing. Crutches are typically used when walking. In serious breaks, a rod, plate or screws are surgically placed to support the bone. After healing, stretching and strengthening exercises are needed.

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