The fibula and tibia are the two long bones of the lower leg. The fibula, or calf bone, is a small bone located on the outside of the leg.

The tibia, or shinbone, is the weight-bearing bone and is in the inside of the lower leg.

The fibula and the tibia join together at the knee and ankle joints. The two bones help to stabilize and support 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.

Types of fibula fracture

Fibula fractures can happen at any point on the bone and can vary in severity and type. Types of fibula fracture include the following:

  • Lateral malleolus fractures occur when the fibula is fractured at the ankle
  • Fibular head fractures occur at the upper end of the fibula at the knee
  • Avulsion fractures happen when a small chunk of bone that is attached to a tendon or ligament is pulled away from the main part of the bone
  • Stress fractures describe a situation where the fibula is injured as the result of repetitive stress, such as running or hiking
  • Fibular shaft fractures occur in the mid-portion of the fibula after an injury such as a direct blow to the area

A fibula fracture can be due to many different injuries. It is commonly associated with a rolled ankle but can also be due to an awkward landing, a fall, or a direct blow to the outer lower leg or ankle.

Fibula fractures are common in sports, especially those that involve running, jumping, or quick changes of direction such as football, basketball, and soccer.

Symptoms

Pain, swelling, and tenderness are some of the most common signs and symptoms of a fractured fibula. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Inability to bear weight on the injured leg
  • Bleeding and bruising in the leg
  • Visible deformity
  • Numbness and coldness in the foot
  • Tender to the touch

Rehab and physical therapy

After being in a cast or splint for several weeks, most people find that their leg is weak and their joints stiff. Most patients will require some physical therapy & rehabilitation to make sure their leg regains full strength and flexibility.

A physical therapist will evaluate each person individually to determine the best treatment plan. The therapist may take several measurements to judge the individuals condition. Measurements include:

  • Range of motion
  • Strength
  • Surgical scar tissue assessment
  • How the patient walks and bears weight
  • Pain

Physical therapy usually begins with ankle strengthening and mobility exercises. Once the patient is strong enough to put weight on the injured area, walking and stepping exercises are common. Balance is a vital part of regaining the ability to walk unassisted. Wobble board exercises are a great way to work on balance.

Many people are given exercises that they can do at home to further help with the healing process.

For appointments and more information, visit town-pt.com

Town Physical Therapy Locations:

Maywood, NJ | Emerson, NJ | Bergenfield, NJ | Clifton, NJ | Paramus, NJ