Though the fibula only bears 17% of our body’s weight, if it experiences a break or a fracture, it will make itself known. Many patients wonder, “How long does it take a fractured fibula to heal?” The truth is that a broken fibula recovery time can be quite lengthy.
Patients asking, “How long does a broken fibula take to heal?”, the answer is, four to six weeks. As this injuries involves a break or fracture of bone, there is little that can be done to hasten this recovery time other than through preventative measures. The key is to receive the proper care right away and to be patient throughout the entirety of recovery.
Treating a Broken Fibula
Receiving the proper treatment after a broken fibula is imperative to a full and healthy recovery. Seeking medical attention from a sports medicine doctor right away to get a comprehensive diagnosis, will assure that the treatment of your injury is as targeted and effective as possible.
For small stress fractures, small cracks in the fibula as a result of repeated activities such as jumping, some patients may only require simple rest, ice, compression and elevation for a short one to two week recovery. For breaks, the R.I.C.E. method will minimize the effects and hasten the recovery time.
Rest – Taking it easy will help allow the body to perform its natural healing process and limits the risk of reinjury.
Ice – The coolness of the ice will help reduce the swelling that will occur after a broken fibula injury.
Compression – A compression wrap will help support the injured leg and reduce swelling, while a medical boot can also help support the leg and reduce the risk of harm to the injured area.
Elevation – Elevation will help minimize the blood flow to the injured leg in order to reduce swelling and bruising. Keep your injured foot above your heart to reduce excess blood flow.
Closed Reduction Method
The closed reduction method consist of the doctor manually realigning the fibula bone to ensure that the bone heals and connects correctly. This is required when there is a clean break of the fibula bone in two pieces without any fragments. Recovery can vary with this type of injury, so the patient may be able to move around with just a medical boot, crutches, both or may require some bedrest to ensure the best recovery.
For serious misalignments or fractures of the fibula in multiple pieces, surgery is required. This will consist of the orthopaedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor placing equipment inside the leg to help connect and support the broken fibula. Doctors will use metal plates, screws or flexible K-wire to keep the fibula aligned and strong throughout your recovery.
Broken Fibula Potential Complications
Broken fibula treatments are fairly common and rarely result in complications. What is much more likely is for patients to experience a number of different complications if they do not receive medical attention following their fibula break. Work with the experts at All-Pro Orthopedic and Sports Medicine to give yourself the best chance of avoiding these complications:
- Nonunion – When the bone does not realign or “knit” back together.
- The bone does connect but heals at an awkward angle, which can leave it weaker and more vulnerable to future breaks.
- Pressure builds up in the leg and causes issues with blood flow that can disrupt nerves and muscles.
- Surgery can cause damage to nerves, bleeding or infection in very rare instances.
- The bone shortens after the injury (happens with children).
If you have suffered a broken fibula or stress fracture, contact our Pembroke Pines, Palmetto, West Palm Beach or Hollywood offices today.