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What is the Calf Bone?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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The calf bone, also known as the fibula, is one of the two long bones found in the lower portion of the leg. The tibia is the other long bone found in the lower leg and is the bone responsible for bearing the weight of the body. The calf bone is the shorter of the two long bones found in the lower leg.

The tibia joins together with the calf bone to form a joint. The calf bone also forms a joint with the bone sitting below, known as the talus. The talus helps to form part of the ankle and is found primarily in the foot. It is this bone that is responsible for converting the weight of the body to the foot.

The fibula, an alternate name for the calf bone, garners its name from the Latin word for clasp. This is due to the way that this bone connects to the tibia; they look like they are attached to one another much like the clasp of a brooch. The term calf is thought to be used for this bone because of the Indo-European word that basically means to bunch up, describing the muscles found in this region of the leg.

The calf bone is often used to help reconstruct the lower jaw bone when it has been damaged. The middle portion of the bone is removed and used to rebuild the mandible, or lower jaw bone. This process is known as a free tissue transfer.

The bones of the lower leg are particularly prone to developing fractures as a result of injury. Due to its close proximity to the tibia, it is rare for the tibia to become fractured without the calf bone suffering injury as well. This type of fracture frequently accompanies a foot or ankle injury due to the proximity and connection to the fibula.

Common symptoms indicating the possibility of a calf bone fracture include pain as well as swelling in the affected area of the leg. It is often difficult, if not impossible, to put weight on the leg once this bone has been fractured. Simple fractures rarely require hospitalization and can be treated at home under the supervision of a medical professional with ice packs and non-prescription medications aimed at relieving the pain and swelling associated with the injury. Occasionally, surgery may be indicated, particularly if the bone protrudes through the skin as a result of the fracture.

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