The fibula bone is a long bone located on the outside of the lower leg. A fibula fracture may be the result of repetitive movements (stress fracture) or sudden trauma to the leg. The fibula is not a major weight-bearing bone but it does contribute to stability of the ankle, so it can affect walking and may cause pain when putting weight on the injured leg.
Those with minor stress fractures may be able to continue normal activity with the help of crutches for a week or two to keep weight off the bone. The use of casts or splints is sometimes also helpful. More severe fractures can limit the ability to walk and may require surgical intervention.
Workers who suffer a fractured fibula from repetitive motion at work or an injury in the workplace can pursue workers’ compensation benefits to cover treatment and provide disability benefits.
Treatment for a Fibula Fracture
As noted above, minor stress fractures may simply require immobilization of the leg through splinting or casting and/or the use of crutches to keep weight off the leg as it heals. More severe cases may warrant additional medical intervention to heal a fibula fracture.
Closed reduction is one approach to repairing a broken fibula bone. This procedure realigns the ends of the broken area without the need for surgery. It is a manual process in which the bones are pushed back into their proper position to allow them to fuse back together. It is non-invasive and may require casting afterward to hold the newly joined bones in place.
Surgery can repair bones that have multiple breaks or are very far out of alignment. Screws, plates or metal wires may be necessary to help keep broken bones together during the healing process. In some cases, bone grafting is required to repair places where the bones do not properly heal back into place.
Your ability to work can be compromised by a fibula fracture, and you may incur costly medical bills associated with your treatment. Workers’ compensation benefits can help you get through your recovery period and will cover your medical expenses.
Workers’ Compensation Eligibility and Benefits for a Fibula Fracture
To qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, you will need to prove your injury is related to your work duties or environment. A broken fibula must be linked to an injury that you sustained while on duty at work or from ongoing activity that would contribute to a stress fracture.
Some disputes arise over whether an injury – especially one related to repetitive motion – is work-related, so consult an attorney if you have trouble proving eligibility.
Your workers’ compensation benefits can cover costs of the various treatments noted above. Your employer will provide you with a doctor from whom you must seek treatment. If you are unsatisfied with the doctor’s care, you may request alternate care; first talk to your employer or the workers’ comp insurer, and then the workers’ compensation commissioner if that is unsuccessful.
You can also request an independent medical exam if you do not agree with the employer-chosen doctor’s impairment rating. As you recover from a fibula fracture, you may receive disability benefits while out of work or while earning lower wages while in a reduced capacity.
If you suffer permanent impairment – and receive an impairment rating as noted above – you may receive permanent partial disability benefits. Speak with your lawyer about the types of benefits to which you are entitled.
Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair for Workers’ Comp Help
Walker, Billingsley & Bair can help prove your fibula fracture is work-related and help you pursue benefits under Iowa’s workers’ compensation laws. Call us today at 888-435-9886 or use our contact form to set up a free consultation to review the details of your case.