I
FIBULA
The muscles most commonly affected
are those in the neck, shoulders, chest,
back,
buttocks,
and knees. There is
usually no restriction of movement.
Attacks are generally worse in cold,
damp
weather.
Exhaustion and
dis-
turbed sleep are common.
Use of
analgesic drugs
(painkillers),
hot baths, and massage usually relieves
pain and stiffness.
Antidepressant drugs
,
such as amitriptyline, are often effective
in improving sleep and relieving pain.
fibroplasia
The formation of fibrous tissue, w hich
is a process that occurs normally during
the healing of a wound, that may occur
abnormally in some tissues.
In one
form of the condition, known as
retro-
lental fibroplasia
,
fibrous tissue develops
behind the lens of the eye and causes
blindness. This type of fibroplasia is
usually seen only in newborn prema-
ture babies and is the result of excessive
treatment with oxygen.
fibrosarcoma
A rare, cancerous tumour of the cells
that
make
up
connective tissue
(the
material that surrounds body struc-
tures
and holds
them
together). A
fibrosarcoma may develop from a non-
cancerous
fibroma
or may be cancerous
from the start.
Treatment of a fibrosarcoma is by
surgical removal and/or
radiotherapy
.
However, this may be only temporarily
successful if cells from
the tumour
have already spread through the blood-
stream to initiate growths elsewhere
in the body.
fibrosing alveolitis
Inflammation and thickening of the
walls of the alveoli (the tiny air sacs in
the lungs; see
alveolus, pulmonary
)
that
results in scarring of lung tissue (see
interstitial pulmonary fibrosis
) .
Fibrosing
alveolitis
most frequently
occurs in
people over the age of 60.
Usually, fibrosing alveolitis is a long-
term
disorder,
that
develops
over
months or years. Rarely, an acute form
occurs that develops rapidly over a few
days or weeks. Both forms tend to
become progressively worse and are
difficult to treat.
CAUSES
In some cases, fibrosing alveolitis is
the result of an
autoimmune disorder
(in
w hich the immune system attacks the
body’s own tissues) and may be associ-
ated w ith such conditions, particularly
rheumatoid arthritis
and systemic
lupus
erythematosus
.
Other causes of the con-
dition may include
radiotherapy
of the
organs in the chest and treatment with
anticancer drugs
.
In many cases, howev-
er, the cause is unknown; the con-
dition is then known as idiopathic pul-
monary fibrosis.
SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of fibrosing alveolitis in -
clude shortness of breath, a persistent
dry cough, and joint pains. As the con-
dition progresses, breathing becomes
increasingly difficult, especially during
vigorous exercise. In severe cases, there
is increased risk of
respiratory failure
and chronic
heart failure
.
Some people
w ith the disorder are more susceptible
to
lung cancer
.
TREATMENT
Treatment of the condition involves
corticosteroid
drugs
combined
with
other
immunosuppressant drugs
to slow
the progress of lung damage. Home
oxygen therapy may be used to assist
breathing. For some people, a lung
transplant may be life-saving.
fibrosis
An overgrowth of scar tissue or
connec-
tive tissue
.
Fibrous
tissue
may
be
formed as an exaggerated healing res-
ponse to infection, inflammation, or
injury. Fibrosis may also result from a
lack of oxygen in a tissue, usually due
to inadequate blood flow through it
(in heart muscle damaged by a
myocar-
dial infarction
,
for example).
In
fibrosis,
specialized
structures
(for example, kidney or muscle cells)
are replaced by fibrous tissue, w hich
results in impaired function
of the
organ concerned. An overgrowth of
fibrous tissue
can
compress
hollow
structures, a situation that occurs in
retroperitoneal fibrosis
,
in
w hich
the
ureters (tubes draining urine from the
kidneys
into
the
bladder)
become
blocked. Fibrous tissue formed w ithin
a muscle after a tear causes shortening
of the muscle and disruption of the
norm al contraction of its fibres. The
likelihood of further tears occurring
is
increased
unless
the
muscle
is
stretched and exercised.
fibrositis
A former term for
fibromyalgia
.
fibrous adhesion
See
adhesion
.
fibula
The outer and thinner of the two long
bones of the lower leg. The fibula is
much narrower than the other lower-
leg bone, the
tibia
(shin), to w hich it
runs
parallel
and
to
w hich
it
is
attached at both ends by
ligaments
.
The
top end of the fibula does not reach
the knee, but the lower end extends
below the tibia and forms part of the
ankle joint
.
The main function of the fibula is to
provide an attachment for the muscles.
It provides little supportive strength to
the lower leg.
FRACTURE
The fibula is one of the most commonly
broken bones. A fracture of the fibula
just above the ankle may occur with a
severe ankle sprain as a result of a vio-
lent twisting movement.
Pott’s fracture
is
a fracture at this location combined
with dislocation of the ankle and some-
times with fracture of the tibia.
To confirm a fracture of the fibula,
X-
rays
are taken. In some cases, the lower
leg is im m obilized in a plaster
cast
to
allow the bone to heal. If a fracture
occurs in the middle portion of the
fibula, however, im m obilization may
not be needed. If the fracture is severe
(especially if it is accompanied by dis-
location of the ankle), surgery may be
necessary to fasten the broken pieces
of bone with pins.
F
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