The best treatment for your tibia fracture is determined by a variety of factors, including your age, past and present health, the location and severity of the fracture and your history with various medications and treatments. Tibia fracture, which is a partial or complete break in the shinbone, can be caused by stress from overuse or trauma.
Tibia Fracture Diagnosis
A tibia fracture can be extremely painful, and depending on the severity, it may immobilize you. If you have any reason to suspect that you may have a fracture of any size in your shinbone, it is important to seek medical attention so it does not worsen. To best diagnose your condition, the doctor will talk to you about your activity, recent trauma (if any) and perform a physical exam. To further determine the severity of the fracture, the following techniques may be used:
Nonsurgical Treatment for Tibia Fractures
If the tibia fracture is minor with partial breakage that does not spread into any other surrounding joints, it can often be treated without the need for surgery. In many cases, this breakage can be repaired using the traditional casting method to immobilize the bone and allow it to heal naturally. A person will generally be asked to use crutches for a period of time to limit the amount of weight put on the bone as it heals.
Surgery for Tibia Fractures
In some cases, a tibia fracture requires surgery. The aim of tibia fracture surgeries is to reconnect the bone and keep it in place as it heals. The majority of tibia fractures are treated using one of three techniques:
Tibia Fracture Research
Many tibia fractures occur because of overuse by an athlete. Because of this, there has been significant research in the sports medicine world around how to help stop these stress fractures in the shinbone, otherwise known as shin splints.
In a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, female runners and competitive athletes were analyzed over a period of time. The study’s authors initially wanted to see if stress fractures were more common in women who had previously experienced these same injuries, as many researchers suggested. They also measured the size of the calf and shinbone in an effort to better understand if this had any relevance on whether the participants received stress fractures due to exercise. As a result, they found that those who had suffered from previous fractures actually had stronger bones. Likewise, they found that people with stronger calf muscles experienced fewer injuries. In other studies conducted on men, these findings appeared to be true as well.
Another factor had to do with stride length. In one study done by Iowa State University in Ames, researchers found that even a slight reduction of only 10% in stride distance while maintaining the same pace, put significantly less pressure on the shinbone and caused fewer fractures in the long run.
As research on sports medicine 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 Tibia Fracture surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the bones.
To learn more about tibia fractures, visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)