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Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health

by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Definition

The fibula is a small bone that runs along the outside of the lower leg. A fibula shaft fracture is a break in the long, narrow part of this bone.

Leg Bones (male)
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Causes

This problem is caused by:

  • A direct blow
  • A twisting injury

Risk Factors

Playing contact sports may raise the risk of this fracture.

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Pain and tenderness that may be worse when moving the leg
  • Problems walking or putting weight on the leg
  • A change in how the lower leg looks

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms, health history, and how the injury happened. An exam will be done. It will focus on the lower leg.

Images will be taken of the leg. This can be done with x-rays.

Treatment

It may take 4 to 6 months to heal. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. Medicine can help. Other options are:

  • A splint, brace, walking boot, or cast to keep the bone in line as it heals
  • A walker or crutches to take weight off of the leg as it heals
  • Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion

Children's bones have growth plates that let bones grow and harden with age. A child with a fracture may need to be checked over time to make sure the bone heals the right way and keeps growing.

Putting Bones Back in Place

Some fractures cause pieces of bone to come apart. These pieces will need to be put back into place. This may be done:

  • Without surgery—anesthesia will be used to ease pain while the doctor moves the pieces back into place
  • With surgery—pins, screws, plates, or a rod may be needed to reconnect the pieces and hold them in place

Prevention

To lower the risk of this type of fracture:

  • Wear safety equipment when playing sports or doing activities.
  • Always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
  • Do not do things that may cause a fall.

RESOURCES

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians  http://www.familydoctor.org 

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons  http://www.orthoinfo.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation   http://www.canorth.org 

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

References

Proximal fibular shaft fracture—emergency management. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T903836/Proximal-fibular-shaft-fracture-emergency-management. Accessed July 29, 2021.

Tibia and fibula fractures. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/tibia-and-fibula-fractures. Accessed July 29, 2021.

Revision Information