The treatment and surgery that is right for your proximal tibia fracture is determined by a few important factors, including your age, past and current health, symptoms, extent of the injury and any history with other medications and treatments. A proximal tibia fracture is a complete or partial break of the shinbone, close to the knee, which is usually caused by a low-energy impact such as a fall, or a high-energy impact such as a motor vehicle accident.
Proximal Tibia Fractures Diagnosis
A proximal tibia fracture can be dangerous because it is connected to the knee, which is a vital joint in the body with many sensitive ligaments and bones. If you have any reason to believe you may have a fracture in this area, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor will ask questions regarding your past health and current symptoms, including those related to your knee, and perform a physical exam. To locate the specific area of the breakage, one of the following techniques will be used:
Nonsurgical Treatment for Proximal Tibia Fracture
The decision of whether or not to operate on a proximal tibia fracture depends on the lifestyle and overall health of the patient. In some cases it makes sense; however, in others, when there is not an active lifestyle and the patient may have difficulty with anesthesia, operations are not the best choice. In these situations, the patient will be advised not to put any weight on the leg and a cast will be applied to limit motion. As the injury heals, weight and mobility will slowly be reintroduced to the limb.
Surgery for Proximal Tibia Fractures
In most cases involving active adults and children, proximal tibia fracture surgery is performed. The goal of the surgery is to reconnect the bones so that they heal properly. The majority of proximal tibia fractures are treated surgically in one of the following ways:
Proximal Tibia Fracture Research
There is quite a bit of research being done surrounding the treatment of a proximal tibia fracture. Because this fracture is so close to a joint, and so frequently involves a partial fracture in the knee bone, as well, it frequently can lead to other difficulties, including long-term arthritis. This has created a need for physicians to have a better understanding of how best to treat these injuries without the risk of long-term effects.
In some studies, external fixation has been shown to be the best approach to treatment. This is in part because it is the most minimally invasive and provides the most stability to the injury. Internal fixation with plates and screws can sometimes cause a malunion of the bone and joint – that is, an occasion when the fracture does not heal anatomically correctly. This malunion can lead to difficulty down the road, with added strain on the joints from not healing properly. In turn, other difficulties are caused by weight-bearing activities that can be felt in the knee.
Depending on the severity and location of the fracture, some treatments are preferred over others. New treatment methods are being experimented with to try to determine the best way to treat these injuries. Some new treatment methods include blocking screws to improve alignment after nailing and locking in an extension.
As research on treatment is ongoing, it is a good idea for your conversation about it with your doctor to be ongoing as well.
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Trauma Services in New York performs Proximal Tibia Fracture Surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the bones.