Complications of a broken leg may include:
May. 30, 2014
- 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.
- Fields KB. Overview of tibial fractures in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Canale ST, et al. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Asplund CH, et al. Midshaft femur fractures in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Fields KB. Stress fractures of the tibia and fibula. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=40. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Vincent JL, et al. Textbook of Critical Care. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Mathison DJ, et al. General principles of fracture management: Fracture patterns and description in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 10, 2014.
- Derby R, et al. General principles of acute fracture management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2014.
- Tibia (shinbone) shaft fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00522. Accessed March 11, 2014.
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