Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Depending on the severity of the break, your family doctor or an emergency room physician may recommend examination by an orthopedic surgeon.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of the symptoms and the precipitating event
- Information about past medical problems
- All the medications and dietary supplements you or your child takes
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
For a broken leg, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What kinds of tests are needed?
- What is the best course of action?
- Is surgery necessary?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- What restrictions will need to be followed?
- Should I see a specialist?
- What pain medications do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
During the physical exam, the doctor will inspect the affected area for tenderness, swelling, deformity or an open wound. He or she will probably want to see X-rays of the injury. Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
- Can you describe what happened to cause the symptoms?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen the symptoms?
- Fields KB. Stress fractures of the tibia and fibula. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed April 21, 2011.
- Thighbone (femur) fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www.orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00364. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Shinbone fractures. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www.orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00161. Accessed May 19, 2011.
- Fractures of the lower extremity: Shaft of the femur. In: Canale ST, et al. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/132633798-5/831634018/1584/388.html#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-03329-9..50054-4--cesec111_2919. Accessed May 19, 2011.