Complications of a broken leg may include:

  • Knee or ankle pain. A broken bone in your leg may produce pain in your knee or ankle.
  • Poor or delayed healing. A severe leg fracture may not heal quickly or completely. This is particularly common in an open fracture of your tibia because of lower blood flow to this bone.
  • Bone infection (osteomyelitis). If you have an open fracture, your bone may be exposed to fungi and bacteria that can cause infection.
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage. Fracture of the leg can injure adjacent nerves and blood vessels. Seek immediate medical help if you notice any numbness or circulation problems.
  • Compartment syndrome. This neuromuscular condition causes pain, swelling and sometimes disability in muscles near the broken bone. This is a rare complication that is more common with high-impact injuries, such as a car or motorcycle accident.
  • Arthritis. Fractures that extend into the joint and poor bone alignment can cause osteoarthritis years later. If your leg starts to hurt long after a break, see your doctor for an evaluation.
  • Unequal leg length. The long bones of a child grow from the ends of the bones, in softer areas called growth plates. If a fracture goes through a growth plate, that limb might eventually become shorter or longer than the opposite limb.
May. 30, 2014

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