One of the most gruesome injuries to take place on the soccer pitch is the double compound leg fracture. Unfortunately in contact sports like soccer, complete fractures of the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) are becoming more common.
With the game being played at such a high pace, a late and reckless challenge can keep a player off the pitch for an extended period of time.
Ex-Arsenal player Eduardo along with current midfielder Aaron Ramsey have suffered from this type of injury. Unbelievably, it’s happened twice to French international Djibril Cisse. And just last Friday, we saw it take place in MLS action when Seattle Sounders FC star Steve Zakuani was taken out by a horrific tackle.
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The tibia is the shin bone which bears a lot of weight. The fibula is the bone located on the outside of the lower leg. This type of injury not only results in an enormous amount of pain, but the player can go into shock and needs to be managed very carefully.
Immediate immobilization is required. Compound fractures are medical emergencies and hospital treatment is a must as surgery is almost always necessary.
The healing time for a tibia and fibula fracture is lengthy, ranging anywhere from 3 to 6 months. After that, add rehabilitation time to the process – restoring the function of motion, range and strength of the injured leg.
Unfortunately, prevention of this type of injury is difficult. If anything, respecting one another on the pitch will go a long way as these problems usually occur because of overly aggressive play and carelessness.
By staying committed to the recovery process and with the gradual reintroduction of playing time, Eduardo, Ramsey and Cisse were all able to return to high-level action. It won’t be easy, but Zakuani should fully recover towards the end of 2011.
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