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Broken Leg

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Next Steps Follow-up

From the emergency department, you will usually need to follow up with an orthopedic doctor in about a week. This bone specialist will guide you in further follow-up appointments and rehabilitation as necessary.

Prevention

To decrease your risk of injury from a car accident, use a seat belt. For children, use a safety seat appropriate for the child's age and weight.

  • If participating in sports in which high speeds or heights are present, only participate to your experience level and make use of proper protective gear.
  • Use such assistance as a walker or cane, as instructed by your doctor, if you are at risk for falling or have an unsteady walk.
  • Talk to your doctor about screening for diseases that may weaken bones.

Outlook

If treated promptly and properly, a broken leg usually will regain normal function.

  • Because the major bones of the leg support our weight, at least 6-8 weeks is usually required before the bone is healed.
  • The severity of the injury and your age may cause problems. For instance, an elderly person with a hip fracture may have difficulty regaining strength and mobility.
  • Someone with an open fracture, where the bone sticks through the skin, may be at increased risk for infection of the bone. If infection occurs, this may delay significantly the healing process.

Multimedia

Media file 1: Broken leg. Fracture of the femur (thigh bone). Courtesy of Kevin Reilly, MD; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona.

broken leg 1

Media file 2: Broken leg. Fracture of the femur (86 year old). Courtesy of Lisa Chan, MD; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona.

broken leg 2

Media file 3: Broken leg. Fracture of the tibia and the fibula (a "tib-fib" fracture), seen from the side. Courtesy of Lisa Chan, MD; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona.

broken leg 3

Media file 4: Broken leg. Fracture of the tibia and the fibula, after fixation in the operating room with metal rod and screws. This is one method of maintaining bone position to allow healing to occur. Courtesy of Kevin Reilly, MD; Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona.

broken leg 4

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