Skip to content
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Broken Leg

    Broken Leg Symptoms

    The major symptoms of a broken leg are pain, swelling, and deformity. A broken leg can be very obvious but may require an X-ray to diagnose.

    • Pain caused by a broken bone is typically severe. Holding the bone still will decrease pain. Movement of the broken bone will increase pain.
    • Swelling and bruising over the area of a break are common.

      • Deformity of the leg can occur in these forms:

      • Shortening: The broken leg appears shorter than the unaffected leg.

      • Rotation: The leg below the break is twisted.

      • Angulation: The leg bends at the break instead of at the joint.

    When to Seek Medical Care

    Some parts of the leg may be broken and still seem like a bad strain. This can often be the case of injuries around the ankle, or sometimes with the fibula, the little bone next to the shinbone.

    Call your doctor if these conditions describe your situation:

    • You are not able to walk without a great amount of pain.
    • It hurts when you push on the bony parts of the leg.
    • You are concerned that you may have a broken leg, even if you are unsure.
    • If you think you or someone else has a broken leg, go to an emergency department for further evaluation. If you cannot walk, you should call 911 for an ambulance.
    • If you have had a surgery, or had a splint or cast placed already, return to the hospital immediately if these problems develop:

      • Loss of muscle strength or numbness in the leg or foot; a certain amount of strength loss is common because of the pain of the fracture, but if there is a rapid development of numbness or worsening of strength, or a significant increase in pain unrelieved by your pain medication, these may be signs of a "compartment syndrome." Compartment syndrome occurs when swelling gets so severe within the leg that it cuts off blood flow to the leg. This can cause damage to muscles and nerves of the leg.

      • Redness, fever, increased swelling or pain, or drainage of pus from a surgical incision, are all signs of possible wound infection.

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

    It's nothing to sneeze at.

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.