Tibial Fractures

About Tibial Fracture

A tibial fracture is a break in the tibia, the larger of the two bones located in the lower leg. It can cause severe pain, swelling and difficulty bearing weight with the affected limb. Most tibial fractures are caused by a direct blow to the leg, such as a serious fall, a car accident or a sports injury. While some tibial fractures can be treated with splinting, casting and physical therapy, others must be surgically repaired with rods, plates and screws.

Types of Tibial Fractures

Tibial fractures can be classified based on the severity of the injury. Examples include:

  • Stable tibia fractures: In these cases, the two portions of the bone remain in the same general position.
  • Open tibia fractures: In these cases, the broken bone protrudes through the skin.
  • Compound fractures: These are open fractures, but involve damage to the surrounding soft tissues as well.
  • Comminuted fractures: In these cases, the bone is shattered into multiple pieces.

Symptoms of a Tibial Fracture

A tibial fracture typically causes severe pain, swelling, and discoloration around the affected joint. Depending on the type of fracture, it may also be difficult or impossible to bear weight on the affected limb. In open fractures, there may be visible bone protruding through the skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment of a Tibial Fracture

Tibial fractures are diagnosed with the help of images such as X-rays and CT scans. Depending on the severity of the fracture, treatment may involve splinting, casting or surgery. In severe cases, rods, plates and screws may be surgically implanted to secure the bone fragments in the correct position as they heal. Recovery time will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the fracture and the type of treatment used.