Car accident injuries: Healing a broken fibula

The fibula is the smaller of your two lower leg bones, and it is positioned parallel to your shin bone, the tibia. The fibula carries approximately 17 percent of your body's weigh and helps to stabilize your ankle and leg muscles.

A fibula fracture resulting from a car accident is not uncommon. Whether you were a pedestrian or bicyclist who was struck by a vehicle, or a driver or passenger inside a crashing vehicle, an injury like this is relatively minor compared to the more serious injuries that can occur. Nevertheless, every fibula fracture is different in its level of severity and some may require surgical intervention.

Here are the most common types of fibula fractures:

  • Lateral malleolus fracture: The fibula fractures close to the ankle.
  • Fibular head fracture: The fibula fractures close to the knee.
  • Avulsion fracture: A small piece of the fibula bone is torn free.
  • Shaft fracture: A break in the middle of the fibula resulting from a direct impact.

If you have a broken fibula, you may experience tenderness, bruising, pain that worsens with pressure, numbness or tingling, pain in other bones close to the break and, in severe cases, a deformity in the leg.

Treatment will depend on the type, location and severity of the fibular fracture. If it's a very minor fracture, you may only need a boot to protect the foot and leg from excess movement. In more severe cases, the doctor might have to set the bones before putting the leg in a splint or cast. In the most severe cases, invasive surgery to reconnect the two parts of the broken bones will be required. In almost all cases of an "open fracture," in which parts of the fibula emerge from the skin, an emergency surgical intervention will be required.

Car accident victims suffering from a broken fibula may miss several weeks of work. While there are far worse and more difficult injuries to heal from, you still should not have to suffer from such a condition due to someone else's negligence. If you have this kind of wound, learn more about your legal rights and options for holding the at-fault party liable for the costs associated with your medical care.

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