The fibula is the smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. It is in your calf whereas the tibia is the larger bone (and the most commonly broken leg bone) or shin bone. It helps connect the ankle to the knee. It is vulnerable to fracture simply because of its location. Athlete’s who run, jump or twist are especially at risk for fracturing their fibula. Injury to your ankle or knee can cause the fibula to break. Unfortunately, there are also underlying medical conditions that can cause the bone to weaken and break.
There are 8 different types of fractures, so treatment depends on the severity of the break. If it’s a clean or “stable” break, the leg could simply be put in a cast. If it is a compound or spiral fracture surgery may be necessary to set the bone correctly. In either case, fibula fractures need prompt medical attention.
Here are the eight most common causes of fibula fractures that you should know about.
Stress fractures of the fibula are an overuse injury. They don’t happen all at once but develop over time through repetitive motion. Stress fractures are not the same as shin splints. They are more serious because they are actual fractures that will get worse if ignored. Casting or surgery isn’t utilized with stress fractures. The best treatment is rest.
Avoid running on concrete and use the proper shoes with good support to prevent stress fractures of the fibula. Small cracks in the fibula develop because the surrounding muscles simply can’t take the pressure. Diagnosis can sometimes be difficult because fibula fractures manifest themselves as a dull ache. Stress fractures are different because there is no single incident (like a fall or accident) that causes the fracture. Volleyball players, ballet dancers and gymnasts are also at risk or any athlete that jumps and puts pressure on the lower leg.
Low impact exercises are recommended for six to eight weeks. As well as a re-evaluation of your running or hiking habits and footwear choices.