Minor leg injuries are common. Symptoms often
develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or an injury. Leg injuries are
most likely to occur during:
Most leg injuries in children and teens occur during sports or
play or from accidental falls. The risk for injury is higher in contact sports,
such as wrestling, football, or soccer, and in high-speed sports, such as biking,
in-line skating, skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. Knees, ankles, and
feet are the most affected body areas. Any injury occurring at the end of a
long bone near a joint may injure the growth plate and needs to be checked by a
Older adults have a higher risk for injuries and fractures
because they lose muscle mass and bone strength (osteoporosis)
as they age. They also have more problems with vision and balance, which
increases their risk for accidental injury.
Most minor injuries
will heal on their own, and home treatment is usually all that is needed to
relieve symptoms and promote healing.
An acute injury may occur
from a direct blow, a penetrating injury, a fall, or from twisting, jerking,
jamming, or bending a limb abnormally. Pain may be sudden and severe. Bruising
and swelling may develop soon after the injury. Acute injuries usually require
prompt medical evaluation and may include:
Overuse injuries occur when too much
stress is placed on a joint or other tissue, often by "overdoing" an activity
or doing the same activity repeatedly. Overuse injuries include:
Treatment for a leg injury may include
rest, ice, elevation, and other first aid measures (such as the application of
a brace, splint, or cast), or physical therapy. Some leg injuries are treated
with medicine or surgery, especially if a bone is broken. Treatment depends
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
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If a cast or splint is
applied, it is important to keep it dry and try to move the uninjured parts of
your extremity as normally as possible to help maintain muscle strength and
tone. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to
care for your cast or splint.
If your injury does
not require an evaluation by a doctor, you may be able to use home
treatment to help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may prevent leg
Bodily injuries such as bruises,
burns, fractures, cuts, or punctures may be caused by
abuse. Suspect possible abuse when an injury cannot be
explained or does not match the explanation, when repeated injuries occur, or
when the explanations for the cause of the injury change. You may be able to
prevent further abuse by reporting it and seeking help.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to
answer the following questions:
September 19, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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