Fibula Bone And Knee Anatomy
The fibula bone is the smaller of the two bones between the knee and ankle. Together with the tibia, these two bones comprise the lower leg of a person. These two bones run parallel and the fibula is attached by ligaments to the tibia. The distal fibula actually descends further than than the tibia and forms part of the ankle joint. There are five components within the fibula: the body, the lateral malleolus, the interosseous membrane, and the inferior and superior tibiofibular articulations. The body is comprised of the four borders and three surfaces which comprise the majority of the bone. The lateral malleolus, or distal fibula end, is where the fibula connects to the ankle on the outside facing side of a person’s leg. The interosseous membrane is made of common fibrous tissues that is used to separate the bones and joints within the body. The tibiofibular articulations are where the upper fibula tibia connections take place. Both fibula tibia articulations are covered in a layer of cartilage to prevent excessive friction.
During the development of the human body, ossification occurs in three places where the birth cartilage becomes bone. The main function of the fibula is not to provide support or strength, but rather to allow muscle attachment. Similar to other vertebrates, the fibula has lost more and more of its function in humans. In this manner, the fibula is commonly used for bone grafts in other parts of the body. One such use is as replacement bone for patients needing to reconstruct the mandible. Fibula knee joint interactions are minimal due to the bone only connecting to the knee at one point, the lateral collateral ligament. However, a significant fibula injury could cause pain and discomfort to this ligament and, if physical exertion is continued, could result in overstretching or tears within this ligament or others in the fibula knee joint structure.
Because of its limited use within the body, injuries to the fibular are not very common. The most frequent type of complication is a stress fracture, or hairline crack on the bone. Excessive twisting of the muscles as well as muscle traction are the usually reasons for a fibula injury and occur most commonly in runners. A stress fracture can exhibit symptoms such as local pain and tenderness and additional pain can result when extra pressure is put upon the bone. Treatment rarely requires surgery or complex medical procedures. In most cases, the sufferer should refrain from exertion until the pain and tenderness are no longer present. To facilitate a speedy recovery, patients can use a brace or heat retainer to support the muscles. In addition, a sports injury therapist may be able to aid in recovery by applying sports massages and advising on when a return to sports is acceptable. As muscle movement is the primary cause of injuries to the fibula bone, prevention is best achieved by proper stretching and warm-up of the muscles prior to engaging in sports or physical activities.