A broken leg, also called a leg fracture is a crack or break in one of the bones of the leg. The severity of a broken leg can range from a simple stress fracture to an open fracture (in which case, the broken bone may tear through the skin). A leg fracture can take place in people of all ages.
Treatment for broken leg depends on the severity and location of the broken bone. In case of a severe broken leg, surgery may be required to implant devices in order to maintain proper alignment of the broken bone to promote healing. Other, less severe injuries may be effectively treated with nonsurgical methods, with the use of a splint or cast.
In all cases of broken leg, it is important that you receive prompt diagnosis in order to determine the severity of the fracture and administer treatment accordingly. If strongest bone in the body, the femur or thighbone is broken, the injury is usually obvious due to the large amount of force which was required to damage it. However, tibia fractures or fibula fractures are relatively less severe compared to a femur fracture.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of broken leg may include:
- Severe pain
- Pain worsens with movement
- Inability to walk
- An obvious deformity or the shortening of the broken leg
If toddlers and young children experience a broken leg, they may not be verbally able to explain it to you; therefore, they may just stop walking and cry uncontrollably.
When to seek medical attention
If you suspect that your child may have broken a leg, make sure you seek immediate medical attention. A delay in diagnoses or treatment cause lead to future problems and improper healing.
Seek emergency medical help if your broken leg occurs from a high-impact trauma, for example in a car or motor vehicle accident. Thighbone or femur fractures are extremely severe, and may also be potentially life-threatening; therefore seek immediate medical attention if you or someone else experiences a femur fracture in order to reduce further damage to the broken bone.
Initially, treatment may include physical evaluation followed by the application of a cast or splint. In case of a displaced fracture, the fragments may have to be manipulated into their appropriate positions prior to applying a splint. This process is called reduction. Sometimes, the fracture may have to be splinted for one day in order to allow symptoms to subside before casting.
This is required in order to control the movement of the broken bone in the leg to allow proper healing. For this procedure, a splint or a cast will be needed. You may also have to use crutches or a cane so that put the weight off the broken leg. Immobilization may be continued for six to eight weeks or so.
Medications are required to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may recommend using an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In case of severe pain, you may require prescription medications.
Physical therapy is followed once the splint or cast is removed, as directed by your doctor. Physical therapy exercises are conducted in order to restore the movement of the broken leg and reduce stiffness because you have not moved the affected leg for a long while. Rehabilitation programs may be effective; however, they take several months for complete healing, or severe injuries.
Surgery may be required to implant devices to the broken bone to maintain proper alignment to let the bone heal.
If you’re one of the people suffering from pain learn more about our physiotherapy services.