Chris Weidman’s Gruesome Leg Injury at UFC 261 2021

After delivering a kick that was blocked by Uriah Hall’s leg, Chris Weidman fractured his right leg. This was hair raising to watch and made even the toughest of us cringe.

These photos from USA TODAY Sports capture the moment when the distal tibia and fibula bones broke.

As the bones snap you can see the foot wrap around the back of Uriah Hall’s knee.

After delivering a kick that was blocked by Uriah Hall’s leg, Chris Weidman fractured his right leg. This was hair raising to watch and made even the toughest of us cringe. These is photos from USA TODAY Sports capture the moment when the distal tibia and fibula bones broke.

There was no coming back from a fracture of this nature and Chris Weidman was carried out of the ring, leaving Uriah Hall with a bittersweet victory.

The tibia is the stronger of the two bones that broke. The fibula is much slimmer and is considered to be mostly non-weightbearing. The two bones form the upper part of the ankle and the tibia the lower part of the knee. The two bones broke about a third of the bone’s length above the ankle.

Diagram by Boston Children’s Hospital.

Bones are made up of a few layers. Much of a bone’s strength comes from cortical bone (displayed in yellow in the image below) with its outermost layer known as the periosteum. It is hard and dense. The cortex has different thicknesses throughout a bone’s length. In some parts, like below the knee, it is very thick and strong. In the area where the fracture occurred it is thinner and weaker. 

Bones are generally very strong but play a balancing act between strength and weight. If the cortex was super thick along the whole length of the bone, we would be extremely heavy and unlikely to be able to move (as we know it). This would make walking and running very difficult. 

While we do not need to be as light as birds, who have air pockets in their bones, we do need to keep bone weight suitable for our daily human activities. As a result, our bones have a threshold. Once that threshold is reached, the bone will break. Just the right amount of force at the right angle and snap.

In a healthy, young individual bone has an amazing capacity to heal when the apposing edges are held together. In a severe case like this, a rod is used. Here are the before and after X-rays posted by Weidman on his twitter account. You can see the site and the fixation technique used to bring the edges together. In simpler or safer fractures, a cast can be used without any surgical fixation.

We wish Chris Weidman a speedy recovery!

Written by Mark B. Reyneker
Written by Mark B. Reyneker

Podiatrist 20 years of clinical experience. Practiced in South Africa, Malaysia, and Singapore. Pioneered CAD/CAM custom made orthotics in S.E Asia.

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