Tibial Shaft Fracture Treatment | Tibial Shaft Bone Fracture Surgery | Fractured Tibial Shaft Healing Time, Symptoms and Recovery
Tibial Shaft Fractures are fractures that are along the shaft of the tibia (shin bone). The most common causes are direct blows to the shin or falls that cause trauma to the tibia. The tibia is next to the femur and it is the second largest bone of the human body. It is located at the medial side of the leg along with the fibula and both of them are connected on their endpoints by the knee joint. When fractures of the tibial shaft happen, the break could be anywhere along the elongated shaft of the bones. The result of the fracture could also be in different forms.
Tibial Shaft Fracture Types
Tibial shaft fractures have different types because they can be in many forms. These are the common types:
• Stable fracture: This is almost the same as a simple and incomplete fracture because the fractures are still lined up correctly and the bones stayed in their place.
• Displaced bone fracture: As the name implies, the bones are out of place and the broken ends may be separated and do not line up properly. This type usually needs surgery to reconnect the bones and get them back in their original position.
• Transverse fracture: This is also known as the horizontal tibial fracture because the fracture is in horizontal line. It is unstable especially if the fibula is fractured as well.
• Oblique fracture: The angled patterned fracture is the characteristic of this type of fracture. It is quite unstable but minimally displaced. However, it can become more unstable when not treated immediately.
Othger types are distal, Non displaced and pediatric tibial shaft fractures.
Related Note: Wheeless IM naling of these fractures is considered technically difficult.
Initial evaluation includes the history of the fracture. X-rays will be taken so that doctors can see the real condition of the injured tibia. However, some doctors require their patients to undergo CT scans and MRI to know if the fracture has also damaged some tissues, ligaments, or tendons or if any nerve has been severed or compressed. All of these procedures are all necessary because the treatment could never push through without a complete analysis of the fracture. Rehabilitation or rehab is required.
The most common causes of fractured tibial shaft are direct hits to the shinbone which usually happens during car accidents, motorcycle accidents, skiing, fall from heights, skateboarding, and any activity that can possibly put the shin at risk. Also putting the shin on constant stress without proper rest and recuperation may provide stress or hairline fracture to the shinbone. These are common in both children and elderly.
Tibial Shaft Fracture Symptoms
• Patients who suffer from tibial shaft fractures usually complain of severe pain and the pain becomes worse as the injury gets swollen.
• The leg will have the inability to bear weight and there would be visible deformity of the leg.
• For partial tibial shaft bone fracture, the characteristic may be less so the doctor must conduct a thorough evaluation of the fracture.
• Swelling will occur hours after the injury happened followed by bruising.
• The foot may also lose some of its sensation and there could be tingling sensation on the underside of the foot.
• The injury would become very tender to the touch
Tibial Shaft Fracture Treatment:
The doctor will consider other factors before he will proceed with the treatment. He will check on the cause and severity of your injury, your overall condition, and the extent of the damage on the soft tissue. Nonsurgical treatment may be recommended when the patient has a closed and simple fracture. The use of the splint or cast will depend also on the condition of your fracture tibial shaft. If the fracture is swollen, the splint can be used because this can be adjusted. If the fracture needs immobilization and injury is not swollen, the cast will be used.
For surgical treatment, this means there could be an open fracture, the bones were unstable with bone fragments, or the bones have been moved out of place with several fractures. The most common surgical treatment for a tibial shaft fracture is the intramedullary nailing. A metal rod will be inserted from the front of the knee and it will be driven down to the marrow canal of the shinbone. This is done to keep the long bone in position. For many fractures, plates and screws will be used to reconstruct the fragmented bones. External fixation is also another option. This is the process of placing metal pins or screws on the fragmented bones and a bar will be placed outside the skin to control the tension of the metal wires and prevent the bone from moving.
Tibial Shaft Fracture Recovery Time & Healing Time: It may take more than 8 weeks.
Prevention of Tibial Shaft Bone Injury
Prevention of tibial shaft fracture and bone injuries is much like preventing an accident that could create a fracture in your shin. When using your lower limb in your sports, don’t start playing until you put on protection or pads. Even riding a motorcycle can break your shinbone with a mere fall so shinbone pads are very necessary. Also, avoid stressing your legs because overusing your legs beyond their limitations can create hairline cracks on the shinbone and this may lead to severe fractures when minor accidents occur.
When to Call A Doctor
Once you see that a person have bruised, swollen or deformed shin after an accident or fall, call medical assistance immediately because shinbone fractures can easily get swollen as they are located on the lower extremities of the body. Do not force the person to stand or walk because this can aggravate the fracture. If no medical assistance is at hand, carry the person to the vehicle carefully and bring him to the hospital’s emergency department.