BSIP DUCLOUX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP DUCLOUX / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Broken leg. Coloured X-ray of a fracture in the shin bone, or tibia. The unbroken bone at left is the fibula. Fractures are most common in the elderly, who fall over often and have more fragile bones. Treatment involves moving the broken fragments back into position (usually under anaes- thetic as the pain is severe), and immobilisation while the broken pieces reunite. Because the tibia is a weight-bearing bone it can take a long time to heal: in an adult a fractured tibia takes up to six months to knit together completely.
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