Leg fractures are cracks or breaks in the bones that can be caused from overuse, twisting, or a forceful impact such as occurs during a car accident, motorcycle accident, or slip and fall.
There are many different types of leg fractures, but for our purposes we will focus on those associated with high impact accidents. These types of fractures are often classified as unstable and can require a cast, brace, stint, or surgery to set or realign the broken bones. There are times when non-operative treatments will be sufficient to fix a leg break, but, depending on the location and severity of the break, some form of surgery may be necessary.
The most common types of unstable leg fractures are:
Transverse Fractures: These are fractures which run perpendicular to the length of the leg bone. Realignment procedures are often necessary.
Oblique Fractures: These are fractures which run through the bone at an angle. Oblique fractures can start out as stable but become more unstable over time if not properly treated.
Comminuted Fractures: These fractures involve the bone fragmenting into three or more pieces. These breaks are common in car and motorcycle accidents.
Open Fractures: These are the most severe bone fractures and involve a piece of bone protruding through the skin. These fractures are particularly worrisome as they increase the risk of infection.
Unless the fracture is open there might not be any bleeding. However, other symptoms of a broken bone include numbness, pain, and an inability to walk. If you have broken a bone or suspect, based on the symptoms, that you have broken a bone, you should seek medical attention at once. Methods that doctors will use to evaluate your injury include X-ray and Computer Tomography (CT) Scans.
Most fractures will require an interval of rehabilitation to ensure a recovery, and in many cases doctors will advise use of crutches or a wheelchair to help in the healing process. For information on crutch and wheelchair use, please see this article which is also located on our website.