Your legs support your body and allow you to walk, run, and jump. But like any other part of your body, they can get hurt or wear out. Learn about some common leg injuries and what you should do about them.
Your legs are a bundle of bones, muscles, and connective tissues that runs from your pelvis, also called hipbones, to your ankle and foot.
Each of your legs has four bones:
- The femur, which runs from your pelvis to your knee, is the largest bone in the body.
- The patella, or kneecap, protects your knee joint.
- The tibia, or shinbone, and fibula connect your knee and ankle.
The bones connect to each other by pieces of flexible, fibrous tissue called ligaments. Similar pieces called tendons connect the muscles that move your leg to the bones. When you hurt your leg, it’s usually a bone fracture or a soft-tissue injury like a sprain or strain of the tendons or ligaments.
A fracture is a break in your bone. It usually happens when you fall, or when something hits you hard. Sometimes, an illness or making the same movements for a long time can make your bones weak and easier to break.
Simple fracture. The bone may be cracked or broken, but the skin isn’t broken.
Compound fracture. Also called an open fracture, this is when the broken bone cuts through the skin. Often, the bones stick out of the skin. This is dangerous because both the skin and bone can get infected.
A broken bone is a medical emergency. Get help right away.
Sometimes, you can tell a bone is broken. Sometimes you can’t. Signs of a fracture may include: