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

A fibula shaft fracture is caused by a direct blow to the bone or a twisting injury.

Risk Factors

Playing contact sports may raise your risk of this fracture.

Symptoms

Symptoms may be:

  • Tenderness or pain in the lower leg that may be worse when moving
  • 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 your lower leg.

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

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Most fibula shaft fractures will heal without surgery. Choices may be:

Initial Care

A splint or cast may be used to make sure the bone stays in line while it heals.

Surgery

Surgery may be needed for some types of fractures, such as when the bone has moved out of place.

Prevention

To lower the risk of a fibula shaft fracture:

  • Wear safety equipment for sports and activities.
  • Always wear a seat belt when driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
  • Do not do activities 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:

Pallin D. Knee and Lower Leg. In: Marx, Hockberger, Walls, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Mosby; 2013.

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 June 19, 2019.

Tibial and fibular fractures (including horse rider’s knee). Patient UK website. Available at: http://patient.info/doctor/tibial-and-fibular-fractures-including-horse-riders-knee. Updated June 16, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2019.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardWarren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM  Last Updated: 4/21/2020