When you're in a crash and suffer injuries, something you may end up dealing with is a broken leg bone. On the whole, people consider broken bones normal injuries with few real complications. The reality is, though, that broken leg bones can lead to serious complications if they don't receive appropriate treatment.
With complications, it's possible to become very ill, to suffer from chronic pain or even to lose a limb to amputation. Here are a few possible complications that you should be aware of if you have a broken bone.
Common complications of broken leg bones
- Poor healing or delayed healing
- Osteomyelitis (bone infection)
- Blood vessel and nerve damage
- Compartment syndrome
- Unequal leg length
- Ankle or knee pain
Each of these complications could occur, but doctors will monitor your leg during the healing process. Certain complications, like osteomyelitis, may resolve with antibiotics, while numbness or problems with circulation may be a result of nerve or blood vessel damage that requires medical intervention.
Compartment syndrome, similarly, is a neuromuscular condition that can disable the muscles near the break. It's somewhat common among those who suffer broken bones in car crashes and something your doctor will need to monitor you for during your recovery.
How can patients prevent complications following a broken leg?
What you should do, first of all, is listen to what your doctor says you should do. If he or she suggests rest, propping up the leg or reducing your activity, you should do so to give it a chance to heal properly.
While you heal, you'll need to wear the right kinds of shoes, usually athletic shoes, on the unaffected leg. This will help your back and body cope with the uneven use of your legs.
What you eat matters, too. Good nutrition can help your bones heal more quickly. Try calcium-rich foods and vitamin D supplements to improve the strength of your bones and to give your body the minerals and vitamins needed to repair the broken bone. Your doctor can talk to you about whether these supplements are safe for you during recovery.
Finally, remember that your observations and feelings are important to your recovery. If you notice that you're in more pain than in the past or that your leg muscles aren't working as well as you remember, say something to your medical provider. Recognizing complications early on can help you get the right treatment.