Recovering From A Broken Fibula

Feb 23, 2018

If you sustain a broken fibula, it’s important to set appropriate expectations when it comes to the amount of effort and time it takes to completely heal. The fibula is the smaller of two bones found in the lower part of the leg. It and the tibia, the larger bone, therefore, support all of your weight when standing. Because of this and unlike other types of injuries and conditions, a broken fibula usually requires six weeks to three months before patients are able to return to their normal routine. It’s important that you understand how to help your fibula heal and what you should avoid to prevent further damage or necessary healing time.


There are a number of different ways you can fracture or break your fibula. The break may occur anywhere from your ankle to your knee. Many athletes break their fibula, although it can happen from slipping, stepping into a hole, or many other common issues. The type of break depends on a number of factors. For example, with lateral malleolus break, the ankle joint isn’t damaged in any way, but with a bimalleolar ankle break, the fibula and ankle are both damaged. All fibula breaks are serious and can leave you unable to fully walk, or perform standard daily activities without help, for weeks or months.

Immediate Treatment

Although a broken fibula may not continuously create intense levels of pain, it is important that you seek medical treatment as soon as possible after an injury occurs. The chances of prolonging the recovery process, experiencing a relapse, or developing particular impairments as a result of not healing properly increases without immediate attention. You are likely to find it very difficult to walk and stand for long periods of time with a broken fibula, so it’s not a condition you can easily ignore.


It’s important to remember the acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Elevate, especially right after the break. This helps to reduce the inflammation around the break and the amount of pain you’re in. Even if you’ve had a cast put on and cannot put ice directly on the break, you still need to rest as much as possible and elevate your leg.

Patients have the greatest opportunity to experience a quick, complete, and healthy recovery when they are able to connect with one of the Atlanta Orthopedic Doctors at AICA Orthopedics soon after an accident occurs. Our clinic has the resources, staff, and experience necessary to diagnose and treat a broken fibula, allowing our patients to return to their routines as soon as possible. Don’t wait to have your leg examined if you believe you have broken your fibula.


If you sustain a complete break, you will need to wear a medical boot for at least two months to help stabilize and protect the leg. Depending on the extent of the fracture or break, surgery may be the most appropriate option to fully recover from a break in your fibula. This surgery normally involves adding screws or plates to the area around the break to hold it in place while it heals. These metal items become a part of your fibula and are not removed.


Recovering From A Broken Fibula

The most important thing patients can do to recover from a broken fibula is allow themselves to rest and relax during the recovery process. Although it can be difficult to refrain from participating with your favorite activities, a broken fibula requires time to regain its strength and stability. You will likely have to use crutches or a knee scooter for a number of weeks during the recovery process so you don’t put too much weight on the break.

Attempting to rush the process against your doctor’s advice will only result in furthering your recovery time. Still, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and a few low-impact exercises that can help stretch and strengthen the injured leg. Some of the most common activities recommended to patients with a broken fibula include the following:

  • Yoga techniques that can be performed while seated or lying down
  • Swimming routines that provide cardio support without exposing your body to impact
  • Free weights that focus on strengthening back, chest, and arm muscles
  • Floor workouts that focus on supporting the core muscles
  • Any exercise that does not require you to put weight on your injured leg.

For minor fibula fractures or breaks, it may only take about six weeks to make a full recovery. However, in most cases involving a broken fibula, it will take at least twice that amount of time, if not longer. If the break involves damage to the bone, blood vessels, soft tissue, and nerves, it normally takes three months or more to recover. You may not even be able to put weight on the leg for weeks. Those who are required to stand for long hours at work will likely need several months of time off before attempting to return to their job.


Contact AICA Orthopedics To Recover From A Broken Fibula


If you sustain a broken fibula, prevent further injury or potential relapses from occurring by contacting AICA Orthopedics right away. Dial (404) 855-2141 to schedule a consultation or learn more about our approach to treatment or a complete examination to kick start the recovery process.


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