The word leg generally refers to the entire lower extremity but in anatomy it refers to the part of lower limb including the knee and below knee. The leg includes the thigh bone femur, knee joint, shin bone-tibia, fibula ankle and foot. The leg consist of two bones tibia(shin bone) and fibula. The lower end of the tibia and fibula along with the talus (ankle bone) form a part of the ankle. The legs share the body’s weight, help a person stand and sit as well as propel the person forward. The thigh moves the leg ahead and back, inwards and outwards, while the knee allows movement in only one axis, the ankle moves up and down and a little in and out allowing the foot to rest and lift off, this combined complex movement aids in locomotion. Any problems or injuries to the leg could will not only hamper movement but also the involved limb will not be able to balance the upper body weight.

The tibia and fibula run parallel to each other in the lower limb below knee. The tibia is a weight-bearing bone of the leg. The fibula is a slender non weight bearing bone. The ankle is a complex joint and the feet are made up of many bones, muscles, and ligaments.

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Frequently asked questions about Leg

What are the symptoms of a strained leg muscle?

Symptoms of a strained leg muscle can include:  

  • Muscle pain and tenderness 
  • Local muscle swelling, 
  • Reduced muscle strength 
  • Difficulty walking 
  • A pop in the muscle at the time of injury  
  • Dent or other defect in the normal outline of the muscle (Grade III strain)
What are the types of leg injuries?

Types of Leg Injuries are as below: 

  • Fracture- 
  • Dislocation. This happens when a bone is pulled out of its joint. 
  • Sprains. Sprains are stretches and tears of ligaments- 
  • Strains. Strains are stretches and tears of muscles (a pulled muscle)
  • Muscle Overuse. 
  • Muscle Bruise from a direct blow. 
  • Bone Bruise from a direct blow (like on the hip). Called a "hip pointer."
  • Skin cut, scratch, scrape or bruise. All are common with leg injuries.
What are the complications of a broken leg?

Complications of a broken leg may include:

  • Knee or ankle pain. 
  • Poor or delayed healing. 
  • Bone infection (osteomyelitis.
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Compartment syndrome. 
  • Arthritis. 
  • Unequal leg length. 
  • Non union/malunion
What are the treatment options for broken(fractured) leg?

Treatment of a fractured leg involves

  • Immobilization:  splint or plaster cast to immobilize the bones 
  • Medications and treatment:  over-the-counter pain medication 
  • Physiotherapy:  to regain the range of movement and strengthen the surrounding muscles.
  • Surgery:  depends on the fracture type. In order to stabilize the fracture pins, screws, and metal plates or wires or intramedullary rod(rod placed into the cetre of the bone to fix it) may be used.
What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn. Sprain is a ligament tear. Strains result from overuse or sudden contraction of muscle, while sprains typically occur when a joint is subjected to excessive force or sudden movements.

How long does it take for a sprained ankle to heal?

Low-grade ankle sprains usually heal in one to three weeks with proper rest. Moderate injuries take between three and four weeks. Severe injuries may take between three and six months to heal.

What are the home remedies for a sprained ankle?

The following things can be done at home to treat a sprained ankle-

  1. Rest.
  2. Ice. to reduce pain and swelling. ice pack to be done for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours 
  3. Compression. Elastic bandage to reduce the swelling.
  4. Elevation to reduce swelling which will help reduce pain.
What happens if you leave a sprained ankle untreated?

An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability, wherein the ankle is weak and can have recurring sprains which make the ankle weaker.

Which common foot and ankle surgeries typically require surgery?
  • Achilles Tendon Tears or Ruptures.
  • Broken Ankles. 
  • Heel Bone (Calcaneus) Fractures.
  • Lisfranc (Midfoot) Injury. 
  • Pilon Fractures of the Ankle. 
  • Talus Fractures.
What is the difference between corn and calluses?
Calluses have no defined shape, while corns are round and smaller Calluses develop on the soles of the feet. Corns have a hard center often occur in non-weight-bearing parts of the skin.
What is plantar fasciitis?

It is the inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the ankle to the toes. Prolonged standing incorrect foot ware can give rise to it.

What is gouty arthritis?

Gouty arthritis is the condition where uric acid crystallizes and deposites in the joint which leads to pain and inflammation in joints.

How are fractures of the tibia fixed?

The orthopaedic surgeon may take a call depending on where the fracture is located that is upper end, shaft of the bone or lower end. the fractures are fixed by using an intramedullary nail, nails plates and screws internally. External fixation involves reconstructive frames.

Recent Articles

Common leg conditions:

  • Calf muscle strain: calf muscle tear due to excessing 
  • Sprained ankle: ligament stretch or tear
  • Fracture.
  • Plantar fasciitis: Inflammation in the ligament along the bottom of the foot. 
  • Athlete's foot: A fungal infection of the feet, causing dry, flaking, red, and irritated skin. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune arthritis causes inflammation and joint damage
  • Bunions (hallux valgus): A bony prominence next to the base of the big toe that causes the big toe to turn inward. 
  • Achilles tendon injury
  • Apart from this corns calluses and warts affect the feet.

Common Symptoms of leg conditions include:

  • Bruising
  • Gait abnormality 
  • Knee instability 
  • Muscle soreness,
  • numbness, tingling, burning in the leg or foot
  • Locking of the knee
  • Stiffness and limited range of motion in the knee
  • Swelling or warmth
  • Uneven leg lengths
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