A broken leg may be a break in the bone in your upper leg or one or both of the bones in your lower leg.
Fracture is another word for a crack or a break in a bone. There are several types of fractures:
Leg fractures can occur in many ways such as falls, direct blows, and overuse. Sometimes diseases or problems such as osteoporosis can cause bones to become weak and break more easily.
Symptoms of a leg fracture include:
If you have an open wound over the site of a leg fracture, it is especially important to get medical care right away.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and how you hurt your leg. Your provider will examine your leg and check your foot to see if vessels or nerves are damaged. He or she may also examine your knee to see if you hurt your knee. You will have an X-ray.
Your healthcare provider will need to set the bones back into the correct position. Sometimes this requires surgery. Your leg may need to be set in a splint or cast to keep it from moving.
If there is an open wound over the site of the leg fracture, you may need surgery. Your provider will cleanse the wound and cover it with a sterile dressing. You may need to have a tetanus shot and need to take antibiotics for several days.
You may need to use crutches or a cane for awhile. Your provider will tell you when to start putting full weight on your leg again.
Because you will not be moving your leg for awhile, it can cause the joints to stiffen and muscles to weaken, even in some uninjured areas of your body. Part of your treatment will be doing simple range-of-motion exercises to keep the uninjured parts of your body healthy. You will also learn isometric exercises to strengthen the injured part. Isometric exercises are done without moving any joints. You create tension by contracting the muscle, holding the tension, and then releasing it without moving the joint.
The time needed to heal depends on the type of fracture, where it is, and your treatment.
To help take care of yourself, follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Also, follow these guidelines:
Call your healthcare provider right away if:
Accidents are often the cause of a broken leg and cannot always be prevented. However, you can help prevent leg injuries by: