Orthopedists at Austin Regional Clinic most often treat breaks or fractures in the leg bones, but often see other injuries as well including muscle and tendon strains.
Almost all broken bones are obvious, even if the bone has not broken through the skin. Symptoms, which occur immediately when the bone is broken, include severe pain, swelling, and an inability to move the leg. Fractures, especially those caused by repeated stress on the bone, are less obvious. These are best diagnosed through x-rays.
Leg Conditions Treated:
How do broken bones and fractures occur?
Breaking a leg is more difficult than you might expect, as it usually requires excessive force being applied to the bone. These forces usually occur in falls or motor vehicle accidents. Stress fractures are characterized by continued pain during activities that put pressure on the bone.
How are broken and fractured bones repaired?
Healing broken and fractured bones requires realignment and immobilization until the bone heals. Depending on the location and severity of the break orthopedic surgeons have a variety of options to set the bone including casting and surgery.
After the bone has healed physical therapy is necessary to return the leg to its full range of motion and strength.
How do Muscle strains and tears occur?
Muscle strains can occur in both the upper and lower leg and happen when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit tearing the muscle fibers. This type of injury is quite painful and may involve some bruising depending on the strain's severity.
Strains and tears can also occur in the ligaments of the leg that connect muscles to bone. This tough rubbery fiber can be injured in many of the same ways muscles are strained and is characterized by similar pain. However, those with tendon injuries may also notice a lack of strength, stiffness, and swelling.
Almost all muscle and tendon strains are treated simply through rest allowing the strain time to heal. Additionally, applying ice, taking anti-inflammatory medication, and elevating the injury will alleviate the swelling and aide in rapid healing. In some cases a bandage may be used to limit the motion of a muscle or tendon that is injured.
As pain subsides, physical therapy assists in improving the motion and strength of the muscle. Additionally stretching, massage and ultrasound will help strengthen the injury and help prevent a repeat problem.
Without proper healing muscles are extremely prone to re-injury. Surgery is an option of last resort in muscle and tendon strains, but can be used to repair any tears or remove any scar tissues developed by the injury.
If you're experiencing pain in your legs, call us at 512-454-4561 or request an appointment online.