What is a Tibial Fracture?

The tibia, commonly referred to as the shin bone, is one of the most prominent bones in the lower leg. When the tibia breaks or splinters, the resulting injury is deemed a tibial fracture. Generally, tibial fractures fall into one of three categories:

  • Tibial Shaft Fractures: The most common type of tibial fracture, tibial shaft fractures occur along the path between the knee and ankle joints.
  • Tibial Plateau Fractures: When the tibia shatters just below the knee joint, the injury is called a tibial plateau fracture. Sometimes, patients who suffer from a tibial plateau fracture develop knee arthritis because of the strain placed upon the knee joint and surrounding cartilage. For more information about tibia plateau fractures, see our page on this specific type of break.
  • Tibial Plafond Fractures: Patients who experience tibia breaks at the bottom of the shin bone, near the ankle joint, sustain a tibial plafond fracture. These injuries can harm the cartilage of the ankle joint and may cause damage to soft tissues in the affected area.

Causes

Fractures can arise from a number of accidents or traumas. Commonly, the tibia becomes fractured as a result of:

  • A “high-impact” incident like a fall, sudden trauma or direct blow
  • Sudden twisting (as often seen in fast-paced sports)
  • A related fibula fracture
  • A stress (hairline) fracture that has become exacerbated over time

Symptoms

You might have a fractured tibia if you notice:

  • Pain or swelling in the lower leg area
  • Visible abnormalities in the lower leg
  • Uneven leg lengths
  • An inability to stand or walk
  • A limited range of motion
  • Bruising or discoloration

The OrthoCARE Treatment Approach

To heal properly, tibia fractures require immediate medical attention. Severe tibia fractures can batter blood vessels, tissues, cartilage and nerves in the injured region, sometimes causing lasting impairments. If you suspect you may be suffering from a fractured tibia, it is in your best interest to be examined by an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible.

At OrthoCARE Institute, a division of the vertically-integrated Lumin Health system, our orthopedic experts are dedicated to helping you safely and efficiently diagnose and treat your fractured tibia. First, our highly experienced specialists examine your injury to determine the severity of your break, as well as whether any dislocation has occurred. Once we have a clear understanding of your unique condition, your surgeon will create a personalized, patient-centric treatment plan designed with your goals and health history in mind.

Often, well-aligned tibial fractures can be remedied through a “long leg” cast. If conservative methods are insufficient to manage the extent of your injury, surgery may be necessary. Intramedullary (IM) rodding and other techniques can yield positive results when implemented to treat a severe tibial fracture.

To learn more about tibial fractures or OrthoCARE Institute and the services we offer, call us directly at 972-573-7802 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page. We look forward to speaking with you!