About Fractured Fibula
The Fibula along with the humerus, femur, and the tibia are the four long bones of the body. These bones are extremely strong and bear most of the weight of the body upon weightbearing. The fibula is situated on the outer portion of the leg and is also known as the calf bone. A Fractured Fibula occurs whenever there is a break in the fibula. Since Fibula is quite a strong bone it takes a lot of force for the bone to break.
Normally, a severe motor vehicle crash, a sporting injury with an individual being tackled badly and falling on the ground with full weight of the body on the fibula, or an act of violence where an individual is hit repetitively on the fibula with a heavy object can all result in a Fractured Fibula. In some cases, an incident as simple as rolling or spraining the ankle may also result in a Fractured Fibula due to excessive stress being put on the fibula.
An individual with a Fractured Fibula will immediately have pain and swelling at the site of the injury along with tenderness and inability to move or weight bear on the affected extremity. There will also be a visible deformity at the site of the injury. Some individuals experience numbness and coldness of the feet due to a Fractured Fibula.
The recovery process and the time it takes to recover from a Fractured Fibula is a question that many ask.
How Long Does A Fractured Fibula Take To Heal?
The recovery process of a Fractured Fibula depends on the type of fracture sustained. In cases of an open fracture which may be caused due to a motor vehicle crash or a bullet wound to the fibula, in which the bone breaks into small pieces, requires a surgery to fix the fracture with the help of plates and screws prolonging the time taken for a fractured fibula to heal.
In cases of a non-displaced fracture of the fibula where there is just a break in the bone and the bone has not moved out of its normal alignment, the recovery process starts with immobilization with a cast or a splint to allow the fracture to heal.
The time taken for a fractured fibula to heal depends on the severity of the injury and the type of fracture sustained, the overall age of the individual, the health status of the individual, how diligent is the individual with regard to physician followups and physical therapy, any other underlying conditions that the individual may have which may interfere with the healing process. Throughout the recovery phase, the physician will take serial x-rays to check on the status of the fractured fibula and monitor the healing.
For non-displaced fibula fracture, it takes around 6-8 weeks for callous formation to occur suggesting bone healing and this is the stage when the physician will take off the cast and put the patient on a walking boot or on crutches for partial weightbearing on the injured extremity. Due to immobilization for 8 weeks, the leg will become weak and stiff for which the patient will be sent to physical therapy for an aggressive strengthening and range of motion program. This will take another 4-6 weeks.
Once the rehabilitation phase is over, the patient will be allowed to put weight on the injured extremity gradually and as the patient feels comfortable and is able to put weight on the extremity without any pain or discomfort, full weightbearing will be allowed by the physician. This whole process takes roughly around 6 months before an individual can recover completely from a non-displaced Fractured Fibula.
In cases of an open Fractured Fibula where surgery is required, then it takes upwards of 6 months to a year for an individual to completely recover from a Fractured Fibula.
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