Fibula Fractures – Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

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The fibula and tibia are the lower leg’s two long bones. The fibula, often known as the calf bone, is a tiny bone on the outside of the leg. The tibia, often known as the shinbone, is the weight-bearing bone located on the inside of the lower leg.

The fibula and tibia connect at the knee and ankle joints. The two bones support and stabilize the ankle and lower leg muscles.

A fibula fracture is used to describe a break in the fibula bone. A forceful impact, such as landing after a high jump or any impact to the outer aspect of the leg, can cause a fracture. Even rolling or spraining an ankle puts stress on the fibula bone, which can lead to a fracture.

Anatomy of Fibula

The fibula is a non-weight-bearing bone that begins immediately below the lateral tibial plateau and continues distally to produce the lateral malleolus, which is the fibula section distal to the superior articular surface of the talus. The lateral malleolus is important for preventing excessive ankle and foot eversion.

Fibula Fracture

The fibular head is the location of attachment for the lateral collateral ligament of the knee and the biceps femoris tendon. The common peroneal nerve wraps around the fibular neck just below the fibular head before dividing into deep and superficial branches at the proximal fibula.

Along the top and middle lateral border of the fibula, the Peroneal (Fibularis)Longus and brevis muscles arise and give some soft tissue protection to the fibula from direct trauma. The fibrous link between the tibia and fibula, the tibiofibular syndesmosis, inhibits movement of the lateral malleolus.

The distal tibio-fibular ligament is made up of fibres that have enlarged at the syndesmosis’ distal end. This ligament’s stability enables the ankle to maintain stability during external rotation and the hard cutting motions necessary in many sports. The tibiotalar joint is unstable when the syndesmosis is disrupted (syndesmotic or high ankle sprain).

Types of fibula fracture

Any part of the tibia might sustain a fibula fracture, which can range in degree and kind. Fibula fractures can take the following forms:

  • When the fibula is fractured at the ankle, lateral malleolus fractures happen.
  • At the knee, fibular head fractures can happen at the upper end of the bone.
  • A tiny fragment of bone that is linked to a tendon or ligament and is wrenched away from the main section of the bone results in an avulsion fracture.
  • Stress fractures are the term used to describe an injury to the fibula brought on by repetitive stress, such as jogging or mountaineering.
  • After an injury, such as a direct blow to the area, fibular shaft fractures develop in the middle of the fibula.

Numerous injuries are capable of causing a fibula fracture. Although it is frequently related to rolled ankles, it can also result from a poor landing, a fall, or a direct impact to the outside of the lower leg or ankle.

Sports that require a lot of running, jumping, or sudden changes in direction, like football, basketball, and soccer, are more prone to femur fractures.

Causes of Fibula Fracture

  • Low-energy injuries are common in athletes and are caused by simple, ground-level falls or sports injuries.
  • High-energy injuries are those produced by car accidents or gunshot wounds, for example.
  • Fibular fractures can also occur as a result of child abuse or misuse of the bone.

Symptoms of Fibula Fracture

‌Fibular fractures can show the following symptoms:

  • Aches and pains at the location of the fracture on the body.
  • Tenderness, swelling, or bruising may occur.
  • Visible malformation symptoms.
  • Inability to bear weight or apply pressure on the damaged leg.
  • Foot sensations of coldness or numbness
  • Bruising or bleeding at the fracture site.
  • Pain that worsens as you move.
  • Walking is difficult.

Diagnosis of Fibula Fracture

‌‌Your doctor will physically examine your injury and run tests to understand the type of injury and how serious it is. 

Physical Examination

The initial step in your diagnosis will be a thorough physical examination by your doctor. These typically involve checking for deformities, feeling the surfaces of the bones and joints, and assessing muscle strength, reflexes, and range of motion.

‌X-ray

To get a better look at your injury and determine whether you have a fracture or dislocation, your doctor might order x-rays. When a bone shifts from its original position, it is said to have dislocated.

‌CT Scan, Bone Scan, or MRI

To spot fractures missed by the x-ray and to obtain more precise images of the soft tissue and bone interiors, your doctor may request a CT scan, bone scan, or MRI.

Additional Tests

If there is tissue damage surrounding the bone, further tests, such as an angiography or a specialized x-ray of blood vessels, may be prescribed.

Treatment of Fibula Fracture

Open fracture (compound fracture)

In an open fracture, the bone either protrudes through the skin and is visible or the bone is exposed through the skin by a deep incision. Open fractures are frequently caused by high-energy trauma or a direct strike, such a fall or a car accident. This kind of fracture can also develop indirectly, for example, as a result of a high-energy twisting injury.

Because of the force needed to create these kinds of fractures, patients frequently get additional wounds. Some wounds may provide a life-threatening risk. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that related trauma occurs elsewhere in the body 40 to 70 percent of the time.

Open fibula fractures are treated right away by medical professionals, who also check for any injuries. We’ll give out antibiotics to stop infections. If required, a tetanus vaccine will also be administered.

The wound will be meticulously cleansed, looked at, stabilised, and then covered to allow it to recover. To stabilise the fracture, an open reduction and internal fixation with a plate and screws may be required. A bone transplant may be required to assist healing if the bones are not fusing together.

Closed fracture (simple fracture)

A closed fracture is one in which the skin is unharmed but the bone is shattered.

Closing the fracture, managing the pain, allowing the fracture to heal, avoiding complications, and restoring normal function are the objectives of treating closed fractures. Elevating the leg is the first step in treatment. Ice is applied to soothe the discomfort and lessen swelling.

Crutches are used for mobility if no surgery is required, and a brace, cast, or walking boot is advised while the injury heals. After the injury has healed, people can work with a physical therapist to stretch and strengthen their weak joints.

There are two main types of surgery if a patient requires them:

  • With a closed reduction, the fracture site is not required to be cut in order to realign the bone to its original position.
  • Using hardware like plates, screws, and rods, open reduction and internal fixation restores the shattered bone to its previous place.

A cast or fracture boot will be applied to the ankle until full healing has occurred.

In a nutshell

The implant used in fibula fracture surgery impacts how well the procedure goes. Zealmax Ortho produces and sells the most reliable orthopedic implants as a consequence, which are extensively utilized in surgery throughout the globe and have a high success rate.

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