Tibial Fractures

Overview

This condition is a break in the shin bone, called the tibia. A tibial fracture can occur anywhere along the bone, and can range from small cracks to a full break that allows the bone to separate.

Causes

The most common cause of a fracture is direct trauma to the leg from an automobile accident or a fall. Diseases that weaken the bone may also cause the bone to crack or break.

Types of Fractures

Tibial fractures usually fall into three categories. Shaft fractures occur along the shaft of the bone, and are usually the most common and most severe. Tibial plateau fractures occur around the knee joint and may involve the cartilage on the top of the tibia in the knee joint. Tibial plafond fractures occur at the bottom of the tibia around the ankle joint, and may involve damage to the cartilage or soft tissues of the ankle joint.

Symptoms

Pain is usually the most common symptom. Most patients who experience a tibial fracture may also experience lack of mobility, bruising, swelling, and a popping or locking sensation in the knee or ankle if the fracture is within one of these joints.

Treatment

Treatment options include rest, immobilization of the leg in a brace or cast, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. More severe tibial fractures require surgery with a plate and screws, a rod, or an external fixator.



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