How a broken leg is treated


First, a doctor will give you painkillers andmayfix a splint to your leg to secure it in position and prevent further damage. For severe pain, you may be given painkillinggas through a face mask or medication through a drip into a vein. An X-ray is often necessary to assess the fracture.

Ifthe broken boneis still in position,you'll usuallyjust need a plaster cast. This holds the bone in place so it can heal. If there's a lot of swelling, you may just have a splint or cast around the back half of your leg until the swelling goes down. A full cast can be fitted a few days later.

Youmay be provided with painkillers to take home and information on how to look after your cast. Readmore about how to look after your plaster cast .


If the bones are misaligned,a doctor or surgeon may need toput them back into place. This is known as "reduction".

Sedatives are sometimes provided before the procedure and local or regional anaesthetic is used to numb the site of the break. In some cases a general anaesthetic is needed (which means youll be asleep during the procedure).

Once the bones are in the correct position, a plaster cast can be applied (see above).


Severe fractures are often treated with surgery to realign and fix the broken bones. Surgeons can fix bones with metal wires, plates, screws or rods. Plates, screws and rods will usually be left in place permanently unless they become a problem, whereas wires will be removed 4-6 weeks after the operation.

Sometimes an external frame (external fixator) is attached to the broken bones with metal pins to help keep them in place. This is removed once the fracture has healed.

After surgery, a plaster cast may be applied to protect theleg (see above).

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018