A fibula is a smaller long bone that is located on the outside of the lower leg. It extends down to form the outside of the ankle joint. Tibia, another type of lower leg bone, which is thicker than fibula is located next to it. These two bones are connected by ligaments underneath the knee and at the ankle. There is also a soft tissue in between these two bones, called interosseous membrane, which binds the two bones together and keep them stable. Compared to tibia, fibula plays less role in bearing the body weight—approximately as minimal as 20% of the entire body weight.
Fibula fracture, in fact, is a common injury you might encounter. There are some potential risk factors that may lead to a fractured fibula, such as a direct blow to the outside of the leg, twisting leg awkwardly, and from a severe ankle pain.
Therefore, sports and exercise accidents are the most common trigger leading to fibula fracture. Athletes engaged in collision sports such as soccer, football, rugby, or basketball, therefore, may be more susceptible, although this health problem may also be resulted from daily activity accidents.
Fibula fracture recovery time
Despite its smaller role in supporting the body weight, a fibula that is fractured will limit your foot strength. It can be really painful to rest your entire weight on a fractured fibula, and thus knowing how it is going to recover and what may speed the process up can be helpful.
When you suspect a broken fibula, immediately go to the medical center to have an X-ray. It will determine the nature and extent of the injury, which is important in determining future treatments. Once a fractured fibula is detected, it is crucial to take the weight off to prevent the issue from worsening.
According to its main cause and degree of severity, fibula fracture recovery time may take weeks to months—in more severe cases. Fibula fracture treatments usually take four to six weeks, as long as there are no complications. To roughly see how long you will need to get a fractured fibula healed, you should pay attention to the type of fracture, potential complications, and available treatments.
Fibula fracture may affect the area near the knee, the ankle, and the leg where the bone runs across. Hence, a fibula fracture may be in a form of a break around the ankle, a break near the knee, a fracture in which a small part of the bone gets pulled off, a hairline fracture resulted from repetitive injury, or a break that affects the middle of the leg. Closed fractures, in which skin is intact after injury do not usually require surgery and thus may heal faster than the opened ones.
In addition to the fracture type, you will also need to see the possibility of complications that might be undergone by a fractured fibula, although these complications are rather uncommon. Possible complications include non-union of bone that won’t knit together after a fracture, awkward position of healing bone, shortened bone after injury, fibula fracture surgery that leads to bleeding or infection, and disrupted nerves and tissues by pressure in the leg.
How to enhance fractured fibula recovery
In addition to proper and immediate treatments, healing time elapsed by a fractured fibula can be improved by doing beneficial care, such as:
- Rest the fractured bone. It is advised to elevate a fracture fibula even when it is in cast. This will prevent blood clot in the surrounding area that may slow down the healing process.
- Try to put minimal weight on the injured fibula. Thus, it is important to wear crutches or cast to help you walking, as these will minimize pressure on the injured bone.
- Maintain healthy diet, as eating clean, healthy food will fulfil your needs of vitamins and minerals that are required for fracture bone healing. If you are suffering from a fracture fibula, diet containing vitamin D, calcium, and zinc are beneficial. On the contrary, avoid irritating and fatty foods as they may slow down the recovery time.
- Make sure you are getting sufficient calories and protein, which is essential for bone health.