Leg Injuries

Last updated date: 28-Oct-2023

Originally Written in English

Leg Injuries

According to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 14.5 percent of the over 118 million visits to emergency rooms in the United States in 2007 were for leg injuries, however, the survey did not disclose any additional details about the injuries. Injury prevention, allocation of resources, and training priorities would all benefit from a more precise categorization of leg injuries that drive patients to emergency rooms.


Leg Injury Types

  • Fracture. A broken bone is referred to as a fracture in medical terms. The tibia is the most commonly broken bone in the leg. In the lower half of the leg, the tibia is the biggest bone. Patients who have fractures are unable to walk or bear weight.
  • Dislocation. When a bone is dragged out of its joint, this occurs. A dislocated kneecap is the most frequent one in the leg.
  • Sprains. Sprains are ligament tensions and breaks. The most frequent ligament injury in the leg is a sprained ankle. It's frequently caused by inward twisting of the ankle. A twisted ankle is another name for it. The pain and swelling on the outside of the ankle are the most common symptoms.
  • Strains. Strains are muscle stretches and breaks (a pulled muscle)
  • Muscle overuse. Muscle discomfort can occur even if there has been no injury to the muscle. There is no direct impact or fall. Sports or workouts can cause muscle overuse problems. Running up hills causes shin splints in the lower leg.
  • Muscle and bone bruise. The discomfort of bleeding into the quads (thigh muscles) and bones is excruciating.
  • Skin injury. A laceration, abrasion, scratch, or bruise are examples. Leg injuries are common in all of these ways.


Broken Leg

A broken leg occurs when one of the bones in your leg is fractured. It can happen in a variety of ways, such as falling or being involved in a car accident.

Your leg is made up of four bones (the femur, the patella, the tibia, and the fibula). Any of these bones could break (fracture) into two or more parts in the event of an accident.


Types of Leg Breaks

Leg Breaks

Breaks come in a variety of forms and types. The type you have is determined by the force required to break and how it breaks.

  • Comminuted breaks. Occur when a bone breaks into three or more pieces, leaving fragments where the bone fractured.
  • Compression breaks. Occur when the bone is compressed.
  • Greenstick breaks (an incomplete fracture). When a shattered bone isn't entirely split.
  • Oblique breaks. When a bone is broken diagonally.
  • Segmental breaks. When a bone is fractured into two parts (meaning there is a floating section of the bone)
  • Spiral breaks. refers to a spiraling bone break, which usually occurs as a result of a twisting accident.

An open fracture occurs when the bone can be seen through the skin when it is broken, either because of an incision over the fracture or because the bone protrudes through the skin. A compound fracture is a name given to this type of fracture.


Broken Leg Symptoms

Broken Leg Symptoms

Because breaking your femur requires a lot of force, you'll most likely notice if you do. Pain, swelling, and disfigurement are the most common symptoms of a broken leg. An X-ray may be required to diagnose less visible breaks.

The following are signs that you may have a fractured leg:

  • Bruising
  • The inability to walk
  • Severe pain that worsens when you move and improves when you stay still.
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • An alteration in your leg's appearance

If you suspect your child or toddler has a broken leg, they may cry or refuse to walk on it without explaining why.


Broken Leg Causes

Broken Leg Causes

Breaking bones in your leg normally requires a lot of force. Your bones are more easily fractured if they have been weakened in a certain way. A bone will break if the amount of force applied to it is higher than it can withstand.

Your leg could break in a variety of ways, including:

  • Cars or motorcycles accidents. When your knee collides with the dashboard in a car accident, the bones in your leg can be broken. When you're in an accident, it's probable to fracture all three bones in your leg.
  • Falling. Falling, especially from a great height, can destroy one or both of your lower leg bones, although it rarely breaks your thighbone (femur).
  • Overuse. When you put a strain on your bones frequently, such as with long-distance running, you can suffer stress fractures, which are small breaks in your bones. Ballet and basketball are two examples of activities that might cause stress fractures.
  • Sports-related injuries. Broken bones can also occur when participating in contact sports such as martial arts or football. Hyperextending your leg can also be injurious.

A bone can potentially break as a result of an injury if your bones are compromised by conditions including bone cysts, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosisrheumatoid arthritis, and tumors.


Broken Leg Diagnosis

Broken Leg Diagnosis

Your leg will be examined by the doctor for indications of a break (fracture). If the doctor suspects a broken bone, X-rays will be ordered.

The doctor will also examine for signs of damage or injury to an artery or nerve. They will check for a pulse and evaluate your strength and sense of touch below the trauma to do so.

Other lab tests may be requested if the doctor suspects another health condition compromised the bone and caused the fracture. Stress fractures can be difficult to detect, and other tests beyond X-rays may be required.


Broken Leg Treatment

Broken Leg Treatment

The primary treatment for a broken leg is to realign the ends of the bone and then stabilize the bone so that it can heal appropriately. Resting the leg is the first step.

If the break is displaced, your specialist may need to manipulate the pieces of bone back into place. The term reduction refers to the process of repositioning. After the bones have been appropriately aligned, the limb is usually stabilized with a splint or cast.

Internal fixation devices, including rods, plates, and screws, may need to be surgically placed in some patients. This is frequently required in the case of injuries such as:

  • Multiple fractures
  • Displaced fracture
  • Surrounding ligaments were damaged as a result of the fracture
  • A joint (intraarticular) fracture
  • A crushing accident resulted in a fracture.
  • A fracture in a specific area of your body, such as your femur

An external fixation device may be recommended by your doctor in some circumstances. This is a frame that sits outside your leg and is linked to the bone through the tissue of your leg.

To help relieve discomfort and inflammation, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you are in a lot of pain, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain reliever.

When your leg is no longer in a splint, cast, or other external fixation device, your doctor may suggest physiotherapy to reduce stiffness and restore flexibility and strength to your recovering leg.


Ligament Injury

Ligament Injury

A ligament is a fibrous tissue band that links two bones or cartilages or supports a joint tight. The ligaments might tear if they are overstretched.

The knee is one of the most typically affected joints by torn ligaments, and there are 3 kinds of ligaments that can be injured around the knee.

One of the key supporting ligaments in the knee is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). It's a strong structure that runs from the femur to the tibia in the middle of the knee. Unfortunately, when this ligament tears, it does not heal properly, leading to a sense of instability in the knee.

Another ligament that links the femur to the tibia is the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which is located in the back of the knee. The PCL's purpose is to stop the tibia from going backwards too far.

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects the femur to the tibia, whereas the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) connects the femur to the fibula. Collateral ligaments are present on both sides of the knee. The sideways motion of the knee joint is controlled by these ligaments.


Ligament Injury Causes

Ligament injuries are most frequent when the ligaments around a joint are fully stretched, causing them to break away from the bone. They can be induced by rotating or landing awkwardly.

ACL injuries are most frequent in athletics and can result from a variety of factors, including an abrupt change in direction, slowing down while jogging, landing awkwardly from a jump, or a direct impact to the side of the knee.

A strong force to a bent knee is requisite for PCL injuries, such as a football player landing strongly on a bent knee. A powerful force pulling the knee sideways can cause MCL and LCL damage.


Ligament Injury Symptoms

Ligament injury can cause knee buckling, pain at the site of the torn ligament, swelling, and a sense of instability in the joint. At the time of the injury, patients who damage their ACL may hear a crack.


Ligament Injury Diagnosis

Ligament Injury Diagnosis

A physical exam of the knee, as well as imaging procedures such as X-rays (to rule out breaks), MRI scans, and arthroscopy, can be used to identify ligament problems.


Ligament Injury Treatment

Ligament Injury Treatment

Special exercises, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections are among non-surgical treatments for cartilage deterioration.

There are a variety of surgical procedures available if conservative therapy does not work.

Surgical reconstruction is a popular technique that may often be done using arthroscopy, reducing incisions and complication rates.



Sprains occur when a ligament within a joint is stressed or broken. Ankle, knee, and wrist are all common areas for sprains. Ligaments can be partially or totally torn in severe sprains, necessitating surgery. Rest and physical therapy are frequently used to treat sprains.


What is a Sprain?


When a ligament is stressed or torn, it is called a ligament sprain. A ligament is a thick, strong band of tissue that joins two or more bones at a joint. When you sprain your ankle, one or more ligaments may be injured. Even though the terms are commonly used interchangeably, a sprain is not the same as a strain. A strain occurs when a muscle's attachment to a bone is stretched, pulled, or torn. Consider the difference between a strain and a sprain: a strain is a muscle to bone, whereas a sprain is a bone to bone. When you have a sprain, it affects the joint directly. A sprain can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on whether the ligament is strained, partially torn, or entirely torn. The severity of the injury is determined by the degree of the sprain and the number of ligaments affected.


Where Do Sprains Occur?

A sprain can occur in every joint in the body, but those at greater risk of suffering from falls and trauma in both the upper and lower parts of the body are the most susceptible. The ankle, knee, and wrist are the three most frequent sites for sprains.

  • Ankle sprain. This sprain occurs when the foot rotates inward while running, turning, or landing on the ankle after jumping.
  • Knee sprain. This usually happens after a fall or a hit to the knee. A sprain is caused by a sudden twisting of the knee.
  • Wrist sprain. It commonly occurs when you fall and land on your outstretched hand.


Sprains Risk Factors

Sprains Risk Factors

A sprain can affect anyone, children or adults, athletic or not, and can develop during everyday routine activities. If you have any of these risk factors, you may be at greater risk:

  • You have had sprains before.
  • You are overweight or in bad physical status.
  • You engage in a lot of physical activity that takes place on uneven ground.
  • You are exhausted, and your muscles are less likely to provide adequate support.


Sprains Causes

A sprain is produced by direct or indirect damage (trauma) that misaligns the joint and causes it to overstretch, tearing the supporting ligaments. Sprains can be caused by a variety of injuries, including:

  • Rolling your ankle while sprinting, changing directions, or landing from a leap is a common occurrence.
  • Tripping or slipping on a damp or uneven surface.
  • Taking a direct shot to the body, such as in competitive sports, which results in a direct hit or a shift in balance, as well as falls.


Sprains Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the damage, the signs and symptoms may differ. They may include the following:

  • Pain.
  • Bruising.
  • Swelling, which can suggest underlying inflammation in the joint (arthritis) or the soft tissue that surrounds it.
  • Instability, particularly in weight-bearing joints such as the knee and ankle.
  • The capacity to move and use the joint becomes lost.


Sprains Diagnosis

Sprains Diagnosis

There are various approaches to diagnosing a sprain, including:

  • History and physical examination. Your doctor will conduct a medical history and perform a physical examination to evaluate if the history and exam point to a joint injury that may have affected one or more ligaments. They will look for swelling, range of motion, and joint stability.
  • Imaging studies. An X-ray will be used by orthopedic or sports Medicine professionals to ensure that there is no broken bone. Although an X-ray can't detect a ligament, it's still important to check the joint's space and rule out a fracture. Higher imaging, such as an ultrasound or an MRI, may be recommended to further examine your injuries, depending on their examination or your response to initial therapy.


Sprains Treatment

Sprains Treatment

For the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury, your health professional will tell you to use the PRICE approach. PRICE is an acronym for:

  • Protection. To avoid further movement and restore alignment, try to immobilize the area of the problem or keep off a weight-bearing joint. To keep off the injured area, you may be instructed to use a brace/splint or crutches.
  • Rest. minimize your everyday activities to a minimum. A sprain, for example, necessitates a modification in your typical routine to allow the area to recover.
  • Ice application. For ten minutes, apply an ice pack to the affected area. Repeat ice application three to five times a day. A cold pack, ice bag, or plastic bag full of ice wrapped in a towel can all be used. An ice massage treatment is an even better method to ice the region of concern - you can use an ice cube wrapped in a towel or freeze water in a Dixie cup. Peel back the top of the cup once it has frozen to make it look like a frozen push pop. Apply a circular or back-and-forth movement to the injured area. Because it will penetrate deeply into the site of the problem, you only need 3 to 5 minutes to ice it. Apply the ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite and cold injury. You should discontinue ice if you begin to feel numb or uncomfortable.
  • Compression. Continuous pressure on the damaged area may aid in the reduction of edema. Wrap the injured area in a bandage from your fingers to your shoulder (upper body) or from your toes to your pelvis (lower body). This keeps swelling from spreading distally (out from the center of your body) to the area where the injury is wrapped. A bandage should be snug, but not so tight that it causes discomfort or cuts off your circulation. You can make changes as needed. Compression stockings are a better technique to produce compression from the knee down. These are often obtained over-the-counter or online.
  • Elevation. Keep the affected part raised on a pillow to help reduce swelling. You should attempt to keep the injury above the heart's level.

Surgery may be required to treat a sprain depending on the joint affected and the degree of the sprain. If a surgery evaluation is required, they will assess the injury, its potential for healing both with and without surgical intervention, and provide recommendations for the optimal recovery depending on your age, level of activity, and surgical risk factors.




This occurs when your bones are forced out of alignment, usually as a result of a fall or a collision with something or someone. It usually affects your shoulder or finger. Your hip and knee joints, however, can be dislocated.

A dislocated joint may resemble a fractured bone or be visibly misaligned. It'll most likely be swollen and hurting, and you won't be capable of moving it. People who dislocate their hip are more likely to experience other injuries, such as a pelvic fracture. It's a regular occurrence in car accidents.

If you have a dislocated joint, you should seek medical assistance immediately. Apply ice to the area to reduce swelling, but don't try to reposition the joint yourself.


Bone Bruises (Contusion)

Bone Bruises

You usually visualize a black-and-blue mark on the skin when you think of a contusion. Blood escaping under the surface of your skin after you've injured a blood vessel causes that unmistakable redness.

A bone contusion, also known as a bone bruise, occurs when a minor injury to the surface of a bone occurs. As blood and other fluids accumulate, discoloration occurs. A fracture, on the other side, occurs when a deeper portion of bone is damaged.

Any bone can be bruised, but bones that are close to the skin's surface are more susceptible to do so.


Bone Bruises Symptoms

If your skin is black, blue, or purple, it's simple to assume you have a typical bruise. However, your injuries could be a little more serious. The following signs and symptoms may indicate that you have bone bruises.

  • Stiffness
  • Joint swelling
  • Pain and tenderness that lasts longer than a typical bruise
  • Having a difficulty using an affected joint

A contusion to the knee can result in an accumulation of fluid on the knee, which can be uncomfortable. You may also suffer damage to neighboring ligaments, according to how the injury occurred. The length of a bone bruise might range from a few days to several months.


Bone Bruises Risk Factors

Bone Bruises Symptoms

Bone bruises are a regular occurrence. One can be obtained by anyone. The bones in your knees and heels are the bones that are most susceptible to bruise.

A direct impact on the bone, such as from a fall, an accident, or a bump during a sports game, causes a bone bruise. If you twist the ankle or wrist, you risk bruising your bone.

If you have one or more of the following, you may be more prone to bone bruises:

  • You participate in sports, particularly high-impact sports.
  • You are not using the appropriate safety stuff.
  • Your job necessitates a lot of physical effort.
  • You participate in physically demanding activities.

If you have osteoarthritis, the friction of bone surfaces against each other might cause bruising. Injections of corticosteroids into the joint are sometimes used to treat arthritis. Corticosteroid injections can sometimes produce bone bruising, which is unusual.


Bone Bruises Treatment

Rest, ice, and pain medications may be recommended by your doctor for a mild bone bruise. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, may be recommended.

Elevate your leg or foot if you have a bone bruise in your leg or foot to help with swelling. Apply ice to the affected area for 12 to 20 minutes many times a day. Do not put the ice on your skin directly. Use a towel or an ice pack to relieve the pain.

You may also have to abstain from participating in some sports and physical activities until you've fully recovered. Bone injuries that are very small can start to heal within a few weeks. It may take several months for the most severe ones to recover.

A joint injury may necessitate the use of a brace to keep the joint motionless while it heals. If you need a brace, splint, or crutches, follow your doctor's instructions and follow up as needed.

If you smoke, bone injuries may take longer to heal. A physiotherapist may be able to instruct you on how to move the affected joint so that you don't cause further injury, depending on the severity of your injury. If your injury does not heal, you may require more diagnostic testing.


Tendon Injury

Tendon Injury

The strong fibers that attach muscle to bone are known as tendons. The Achilles tendon, for example, links the calf muscle to the heel bone. The majority of tendon injuries develop around joints like the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle. A tendon injury may appear to occur quickly, but it is usually the consequence of a series of small tears in the tendon that have occurred over time.

A tendon injury can be described in a variety of ways by doctors. You might hear anything like this:

  • Tendinitis. Tendon inflammation.
  • Tendinosis. Overuse damages the tissue in and around the tendon, resulting in small tears.

The term tendinopathy is now widely used to refer to both inflammation and microtears. However, for many years, most tendon disorders were referred to as tendinitis. This well-known term is still used by many doctors to denote tendon damage.


Tendon Injury Causes

The majority of tendon injuries occur as a result of gradual wear and tear caused by overuse or aging. A tendon injury can develop in anyone. People who repeat the same movements in their occupations, sports, or everyday activities, on the other hand, are more prone to damage a tendon.

A tendon injury can occur abruptly or gradually. If the tendon has been compromised over time, you are more prone to suffer a sudden injury.


Tendon Injury Symptoms

Tendinopathy is characterized by pain, stiffness, and weakness in the injured area.

  • The pain may get worse when you are using the tendon.
  • During the night or when you first wake up in the morning, you may experience increased pain and stiffness.
  • If there is inflammation, the area may be sensitive, red, warm, or swollen.
  • You may hear or feel a crunching sound when you are using the tendon.

The symptoms of a tendon injury are often similar to those of bursitis.


Tendon Injury Diagnosis

Tendon Injury Diagnosis

A doctor will ask questions about your previous health and symptoms, as well as do a physical exam, to diagnose a tendon injury. If your injury is caused by the way you use a tool or item of sports equipment, the doctor may ask you to demonstrate how you use it.

Your doctor may order a test such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI if your symptoms worsen or do not improve with therapy.


Tendon Injury Treatment

A tendon injury can usually be treated at home. Start these actions right immediately to achieve the best results:

  • Rest the uncomfortable area and stay away from any activities that aggravate the discomfort.
  • For the first 72 hours, apply an ice pack or cold packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, up to twice an hour. Continue to use ice for as long as it is beneficial.
  • If you need to, take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen. Make sure you follow the precautions for non-prescription medications. Always take these medications exactly as directed on the label or as prescribed by your doctor.
  • To avoid stiffness, use modest range-of-motion activities and stretching.

You can resume your activity as soon as you feel better, but take it easy for a time. Start at a lower level than you were before the injury. Slowly return to your previous level, stopping if it hurts. Warm-up before you exercise and finish with some mild stretching. Apply ice after the exercise to minimize the pain and swelling.

If these measures are ineffective, your doctor may recommend physiotherapy. Your doctor may recommend using a splint, brace, or cast to preserve the tendon if the injury is serious or long-term.


Overuse Leg Injuries

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis

It's the most prevalent source of pain in your heels' bottom. A swollen and inflamed ligament that joins the front and back of your foot and maintains your arch.

Though it's difficult to pinpoint the specific cause, you're more likely to develop it if you repeatedly land on your feet with the same force (when you run, for example). When you're first starting, it's more frequent.


Jumper Knee

This is a form of tendinopathy as well. The patellar tendon at the lower edge of your patella (kneecap) may degenerate as a result of frequent running or jumping.


Shin Splints

You can inflame the bone, muscle, and accompanying tendons around the edge of your shinbone if you consistently run, such as if you jog or play basketball. On hard ground like concrete, it can get very unpleasant. It's possible that wearing the wrong shoes will aggravate the situation.

It may be painful to the touch after that. It could be caused by a new workout or a sudden increase in the number of hours spent doing it.


Stress Fractures

Running, basketball, tennis, and any other exercise that involves repeatedly pounding your feet can develop small cracks in your bones, particularly in your lower leg and foot. It becomes more painful as you do it more frequently. If you don't want to make any mistakes, you'll need to take a few weeks off.


Overuse Leg Injuries Treatment

This will be determined by the source of your pain and its location. In addition to RICE (Rest, Ice application, Compression, and Elevation), the doctor may recommend physiotherapy activities to help strengthen the area. Splints, casts, and braces may be used to keep things immobile and prevent further injury to the affected area. Pain and swelling may be alleviated with the use of prescription medication. In some situations, surgery may be required to achieve your recovery.



The majority of leg injuries in children and teenagers occur during sports or fun, or as a result of unintentional falls. Contact sports, such as wrestling, football, or soccer, and high-speed sports, such as riding, in-line skating, skiing, snowboarding, and skating, have a higher chance of injury. The most injured body parts are the knees, ankles, and feet. Any lesion to the growth plate that occurs at a joint at the end of a long bone should be evaluated by a doctor.

Because they have reduced muscle mass and bone power (osteoporosis) as they age, older persons are more vulnerable to traumas and fractures. They also have more vision and balance issues, which puts them at greater risk of injury.

The majority of minor injuries heal on their own, and home care is usually all that's required to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.